Wednesday December 13, 2017
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Myanmar mum on security clearance for Naga team

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Source: Google images
Source: Google images

New Delhi: A week after the home ministry gave security clearance to a 16-member Naga delegation to travel to Myanmar to hold talks with NSCN-K chief S.S. Khaplang, the delegation is yet to receive the green light from the Myanmar government.

The delegation is expected to talk to NSCN-K about resuming the 2001 ceasefire which was abrogated in March this year. The delegation is also likely to convince the group to join the peace process.

According to the delegation, that consists of members from apex Naga civil society Naga Hoho and Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO), the request was made to the Myanmar government immediately after the Naga Peace Accord was signed on Aug 3 between the Indian government and the NSCN (IM). A further reminder was sent last week.

“We have not received the security clearance or even any kind of reply from the Myanmar Government inspite of making the request weeks ago. Due to the absence of the order, we are unable to decide on the dates to travel to Myanmar or where we are likely to hold talks with the senior officials of NSCN(K) including it’s chief S.S. Khaplang,” Naga Hoho president P. Chuba Ozukum told IANS.

In recent times, Khaplang has signed a pact with the Myanmar government, paving the way for grant of autonomy to the NSCN-K in Sagaing — a northwestern administrative region of Myanmar.

The agreement allows NSCN-K members to move unarmed across the country and to open a sub-office in the region.

Speaking on the issue, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju told IANS: “Home Ministry has got nothing with finalising the dates, as it is not an official delegation. Apart from the security clearance, we are not giving any direction to them on their travel.”

Nagaland chief minister T R Zeliang and home minister Yanthungo Patton had met union home minister Rajnath Singh earlier this month. “They told him that they are going to send a team to Myanmar to talk with the NSCN(K) chief. They have also said that they will put efforts from their side. So, if that is so, then what’s the problem, let them go ahead with it. However Myanmar Government’s clearance is must,” he said.

Central government’s interlocutor for the Naga peace talks R.N. Ravi is also in Nagaland to take ahead the final accord and is likely to meet leaders of other factions of the NSCN.

National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) has several factions including NSCN-(Isak-Muivah), NSCN-(Khaplang), NSCN-(Unification), NSCN-(Reformation) and NSCN-(Khole-Kitovi). Apart from that there also exists the oldest of all groups — the Naga National Council (NNC).

A source in ENPO, which is part of the delegation, told IANS that though the place set for the negotiation is in a remote area of Myanmar, the delegation cannot depart without the Myanmar government’s permission.

On being asked about the content of the negotiations, he said: “First of all we have to make the NSCN(K) understand the Naga Accord signed between the government and the NSCN (IM). We will try to convince them to resume the ceasefire that they had abrogated early this year. We want peace in Nagaland.”

The abrogation of the 14-year-old ceasefire in March this year was followed by several attacks on the Indian Army – the first being on the Assam Rifles in Nagaland’s Mon district, killing eight troopers and then on June 4, during which 20 troopers of the Dogra Regiment were killed in an ambush in Manipur’s Chandel district.

Earlier, the Myanmar government had informally indicated that permission to travel for the delegation would be available after August 15 — India’s Independence Day.

(IANS)

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Drone and Satellites Expose Myanmar’s Pain

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Rohingya refugee
An Oct. 5, 2017 image taken from a video released by Arakan Rohingya National Organization shows villagers preparing to cross a river towards the Maungdaw township in the Rakhine state that borders Bangladesh.

London- The Rohingya refugee crisis is an age-old tale of displacement and suffering, but technology is providing new tools to tackle it, rights groups and charities said on Wednesday.

Powerful drone and satellite images are bringing to life the urgent needs of more than 800,000 Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar, while also providing strong evidence of abuses, which could be used to lobby for justice.

“We can describe for hours the large numbers of refugees crossing the border and how quickly existing camps have expanded, but one image captures it all,” said Andrej Mahecic, a spokesman for the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).

More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled to neighboring Bangladesh since the military in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar launched a counter-insurgency operation after attacks on security posts by Rohingya militants in late August.

The UNHCR is using videos and photographs shot with drones to show the scale of the displacement crisis and bring it to life to spur action from the public and donors.

It is also using satellites to count and identify refugee families by their location in the Bangladesh camps to target assistance to those most in need, Mahecic told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an email.

The use of drone footage of refugees entering Bangladesh has boosted donations for medical care, water and food, according to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an alliance of 13 leading British aid agencies.

Rights monitors also hope satellite images can provide evidence that to help bring perpetrators to justice.

Satellite photos were used in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to prove mass executions in 1995 in Srebrenica.

But the technology has yet to achieve its potential because of limited budgets and a lack of standardised methodologies accepted by courts, experts say.

Human Rights Watch has shared satellite images showing the burning of almost 300 villages in Myanmar, refugees’ mobile phone footage and their testimonies with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“We have found the debris field in satellite imagery where people were executed, corroborating multiple eyewitness statements,” said Josh Lyons, a satellite imagery analyst with the U.S.-based rights group.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein has called the violence against Rohingya in Myanmar “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” and his office is working to determine whether it meets the legal definition of genocide.(VOA)

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Myanmar Must Take Back Displaced Rohingya Refugees : India

Sushma Swaraj did not use the word Rohingya to refer to the thousands who have taken shelter in Bangladesh and instead referred to them as displaced persons from Rakhine state

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Rohingya
A group of Rohingya refugees walk on the muddy road after traveling over the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. VOA

Dhaka, October 22, 2017 : India on Sunday said Rohingya refugees who have poured into Bangladesh must be taken back by Myanmar from where they have been displaced.

“Normalcy will only be restored with the return of the displaced persons to Rakhine state,” Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said at a media meet also attended by her Bangladeshi counterpart Abula Hassan Mahmood Ali.

This followed the fourth India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Committee meeting.

ALSO READ US will Provide $32 Million to Rohingyas As Humanitarian Aid Package

Sushma Swaraj did not use the word Rohingya to refer to the thousands who have taken shelter in Bangladesh and instead referred to them as displaced persons from Rakhine state, bdnews24.com reported.

She said India was “deeply concerned at the spate of violence in Rakhine state of Myanmar”.

According to latest figures from the UN office in Bangladesh, over 600,000 refugees have entered the country since August 25 after the Myanmar Army cracked down on the Rohingyas after a series of attacks on security personnel in Rakhine.

Bangladesh Minister Ali said India was urged to contribute towards exerting sustained pressure on Myanmar to find a peaceful solution to the crisis, including return of Rohingyas to their homeland. (IANS)

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Myanmar to launch its own Satellite System MyanmarSat-2 in 2019

The project will cost about $155.7 billion.

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Nirbhay
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) sources said the Nirbhay missile test was "successful".(Representative image) VOA

Yangon, October 22, 2017 : Myanmar has planned to launch its own satellite system MyanmarSat-2 in June in 2019, official Global New Light of Myanmar reported on Saturday.

To establish state-owned satellite system, the three ways — Condosat which is to lease the use of satellite transponder of another country, joint ownership system and total ownership system — are needed to be done, Vice President U Myint Swe told a coordination meeting of the steering committee in Nay Pyi Taw.

The MyanmarSat-2 will be used on joint ownership system while the MyanmarSat-1 is currently used on lease system.

ALSO READ NASA launches ‘KalamSat’, Smallest 64 gms weighing Satellite Built by Indian boy Rifath Sharook

The project will cost about $155.7 billion.

The Vice President urged the committee to put the Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU) of the transponder as an unchangeable provision in the contract.

The vice president also called on the ministries which are currently working for MyanmarSat-1 using the foreign satellite to hire Myanmar Sat-2 after their contracts with foreign firms expire. (IANS)