GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Sixty-one Palestinians from the Gaza Strip crossed into Israel to visit relatives in Israel’s Ramon prison on Monday.Among the visitors were 11 children, according to a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza City Suheir Zaqut.She added that 37 prisoners in Ramon will be visited.The ICRC “Family Visits Program” for Gazans was suspended by Israeli authorities in June 2007 when Hamas came to power in the coastal enclave.All communication between Gazan prisoners and the outside world was effectively cut off, prisoners’ rights group Addameer reported, and during a Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike in April 2012, one of the prisoners’ key demands was that the program be reinstated.Israel agreed to resume the visits on the conclusion of the hunger strike, although Addameer has reported that many Gaza prisoners have not been allowed to receive visitors.There were 375 Gazans in Israeli jails as of April 1, 2015, according to Addameer.
(Source / 25.05.2015)
Malaysia and Indonesia have announced Wednesday they would no longer turn away boat people.Earlier, Myanmar, whose policies towards its ethnic Rohingya minority are blamed for fueling the human flow, also pledged to offer humanitarian aid. The Rohingya is often dubbed as the most persecuted minorities in the world. Rfi takes a look at who they are.
Who are the Rohingyas?
They are a Muslim ethnic minority group living in Myanmar’s western Rhakine state.
There are about 800,000 of them in the country, while an additional million are scattered across Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand and Malaysia.
According to historians, Rohingya have been living in Myanmar for seven centuries, with early evidence of Bengali Muslim settlements in Arakan dating back to 1430. They have developed a unique blend of Sufi-infused Sunni Islam.
Despite that fact, they are refused citizenship status by the state, which classifies them as “Bengali” migrants from across the border.
Why are they leaving Myanmar?
They’ve been targeted by the government for decades now.
Sophie Ansel is the author of a book called “First they erased our name”, a biography of a Rohingya who fled Myanmar.
“They have no rights. Since the 1960’s, a lot of programs have been put into place to push them out of Myanmar” she explained to RFI. “But in 1982, there was a special law that made them stateless. They lost all their rights to citizenship, and their rights became tough and unbearable. They lost their rights for marriage, to move to another village… They were also arrested and killed.”
Ansel calls what the Rangoon government is doing as “ethnic cleansing”.
Why is the government targeting them?
The short answer would be that they are a Muslim minority is a country where 80 to 90% of the population is Buddhist.
Some Buddhist nationalists even believe that they are participating in what they call a Muslim invasion.
“To be honest, it’s largely driven by islamophobia and racism” explains Hanna Hindstrom, a member of Minority Rights Group International based in Rangoon, Myanmar’s capital.
“These people were stripped of their citizenship in 1982 by the military government, and the government still uses the Rohingyas as a tool to fuel divde and tactitcs” she notes.
Ansel adds that the central government has been persecuting them for years due to the Rakhine province wanting more independence.
“You have to know that in Rakhine they have their own army and a strong will to be independent from the country’s central power” she explains. “Since the 1960s, the generals have been trying to make the entire country Buddhist.”
What kind of threats do they have to face?
The United Nations has called the Rohingyas one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.
According to a report by The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Rohingyas face segregation, hate speech, physical violence, restrictions of movement, sexual violence, voting restrictions…
The list of abuses goes on and on.
In 2012, more than 140,000 of them were put into displacement camps due to an ongoing conflict on the border with Myanmar.
Hindstrom visited the camps and describes them as “effectively open air concentration camps”.
“I have visited the camps and they are absolutely appalling” she says. “There’s no access to health care, no sanitation… people can’t leave the camps so they can work. They basically live completely trapped, and that’s what’s driving them to leave by sea.”
With the international attention given to the Rohingyas, will their situation improve?
It is true that Malaysia and Thailand have pledged to help migrants stranded at sea. Myanmar also promised some humanitarian aid.
But Hindstrom points out these are just short term solutions.
“The solution here lies with Myanmar” she says. “The government needs to recognize Rohingyas as an ethnic group, to stop denying their rights to identity. They need to guarantee citizenship and other basic rights to this very vulnerable minority.”
“If they don’t,” concludes Hindstrom, “they’ll have two choices, either to stay and suffer persecution or risk death at sea.”
(Source / 25.05.2015)
An Indonesian paramedic gives medical treatment to a Rohingya migrant woman, who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia’s Aceh Province May 21, 2015
Turkey has pledged to add $1 million to efforts by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide humanitarian aid for Rohingya and Bengalese refugees stranded at sea, Anadolu Agency has reported, citing presidency sources.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on May 20 to talk on refugees stranded in the Andaman Sea and confirmed that Turkey was ready to take responsibility on the issue.
The agency said Erdoğan told Razak that Turkey appreciated the efforts of Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand for the refugees.
The Turkish Navy has been carrying out efforts to reach Rohingya Muslims stranded in boats off the coast of Thailand and Malaysia, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on May 19.
Addressing a group of young people at Çankaya Palace May 19, Davutoğlu had said that Turkey was doing its best to reach Rohingya Muslims at sea with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), with the help of a ship from the Turkish Armed Forces already sailing in the region.
(Source / 25.05.2015)
Britain’s most senior Muslim policeman says teenagers who stop drinking and wearing western clothes may also be becoming extremists in stark warning
Members of the Islam State of Iraq and Shaam (Isis) with senior commander Abu Waheeb
Muslims who suddenly stop shopping at Marks & Spencer could be victims of radicalisation, Britain’s most senior Muslim policeman has warned.
Scotland Yard commander Mak Chishty said that teenagers who unexpectedly stop drinking, socialising with friends or wearing western clothes could also be becoming extremists.
Mr Chishty said the danger of radicalisation in Britain today is so steep that he fears even his own children could be influenced by propaganda from terror groups.
He said extremist messages posted via social media were becoming so effective that some British children as young as five believe celebrating Christmas is forbidden by Islam.
The stark warning came as the Mr Chishty used a Guardian interview to justify more intrusion into Muslims’s “private space” to counter extremism.
It comes with hundreds of Britain’s having fled to the Middle East to join Isis, also known as Islamic State, amid fears they could return to commit terrorist atrocities in the UK.
Britain’s security services have recently foiled a number of well-developed terrorist plots to kill policemen in central London. The current terror threat issued by the Home Office is “severe”.
“We need to now be less precious about the private space,” Mr Chishty told the paper.
“This is not about us invading private thoughts, but acknowledging that it is in these private spaces where this [extremism] first germinates. The purpose of private-space intervention is to engage, explore, explain, educate or eradicate.
Some Muslims mistakenly believe M&S is Jewish-owned
“Hate and extremism is not acceptable in our society, and if people cannot be educated, then hate and harmful extremism must be eradicated through all lawful means.”
Discussing his concerns, Mr Chishty said one sign of radicalisation was if a Muslim stopped shopping at or begun criticising Marks & Spencer, which is sometimes mistakenly perceived to be Jewish-owned.
Mr Chishty said “I am not immune” as he voiced fears that his own children could be radicalised, adding: “If I feel the need to be extra vigilant, then I think you need to feel the need to be extra vigilant.”
He warned Britain was in “uncharted water” when it came to online radicalism and warned the process is “powerfully driven by social media, reaching you on your own through your mobile phone”.
It comes ahead of a major tightening in Britain’s counter-extremism powers due to be announced in the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday.
Theresa May’s series of anti-terror proposals revealed before the election will now be implemented after the Tories won an unexpected majority.
Theresa May’s plans to toughen up anti-terror laws will be implemented after the Tories won a majority
The proposals included allowing authorities to shut extremist mosques, creating new “extremism officer” roles in prisons to stop radicalism spreading and promoting British values “more assertively”.
“To those people who do not want to join this new partnership, to those who choose consciously to reject our values and the basic principles of our society, the message is equally clear,” Mrs May said in March.
“The game is up. We will no longer tolerate your behaviour. We will expose your hateful beliefs for what they are. Where you seek to spread hate, we will disrupt you.
“Where you break the law, we will prosecute you. Where you seek to divide us, we will stand united. And together, we will defeat you.”
Sajid Javid, the Business Secretary who opposed Mrs May’s suggestion to let the government pre-screen broadcasts for extremist content, has backed the Home Secretary’s plans.
(Source / 25.05.2015)
Vice-President of the Syrian Coalition Nagham al-Ghadiri said that “the real terrorists are those who enter another country to occupy it with a force of arms, just like what the Hezbollah militia has done in Syria under the eyes of the Lebanese army. We stress once again that Syrians who were forced out of their homes in Qalamoun and Homs as a result of the Hezbollah militia aggression are by no means terrorists, but unarmed civilians who have simply escaped for their lives.”
Ghadiri denounces the explicit and repeated attacks by the Lebanese army and security forces on Syrian refugees under the pretext that they are a source of terrorism inside Lebanon.
“We call upon the Lebanese army to stop the Hezbollah militia’s illegal crossing of the border and to prevent it from reaching the Syrian territory and contribute to the killing and displacement of the Syrian people,” Ghadiri said.
She also said that Lebanese authorities arrest and humiliate Syrian refugees because they don’t have official residence documents, noting that many of them have lost their personal documents before fleeing Syria and are now languishing under difficult conditions. Their suffering is also aggravated by the high cost of settling their situation or getting a residence in Lebanon.
Moreover, refugee camps built outside the town of Arsal have come under repeated artillery shelling by the Lebanese army, killing around 50 refuges last year in this border town.
Ghadiri stresses that rebels in Qalamoun have repeatedly emphasized their commitment to good neighbor policy with Lebanon and its army, adding that they moved in to the Qalamoun highlands after the Hezbollah militia occupied parts of Syria’s territory. They are fighting now to retake these terror ties and not to enter Lebanon as is claimed by Hezbollah who are seeking to drag the Lebanese army to the battle.”
(Source: Syrian Coalition / 25.05.2015)