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Human Rights Watch (HRW) accuses Myanmar Army of burning hundreds of houses in Rohingya Muslim minority Villages

Both the army and the government denied the accusations and instead blamed the attacks on Rohingya militants

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A house on fire (Representational image). Pixabay

Nay Pyi Taw, December 13, 2016: Human Rights Watch on Tuesday accused the Myanmar army of burning hundreds of houses in the Rohingya Muslim minority villages where a massive military offensive has been ongoing for over two months.

The rights group, with the help of satellite images, said 1,500 houses were burnt by the army in the northern Rakhine state, EFE news reported.

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The army’s offensive followed an attack on October 9 against police border posts, allegedly by Rohingya insurgents.

The group said the pattern of torching houses coincided with the advance of the soldiers and their deployment in the villages.

The torching in three cases took place after alleged attacks by insurgents and suggests “a reprisal element”, the report said.

It included the testimony of 10 Rohingya refugees, who fled towards Bangladesh due to the violence and witnessed soldiers setting houses on fire.

The report strengthens claims by local activists who accuse the army of carrying out killings, rapes and looting in the area which has been closed off to humanitarian aid organisations, observers and the media.

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According to the UN, around 150,000 people were dependent on humanitarian aid for food and money before the armed attacks and subsequent military operation by the army, which has prompted at least 21,000 Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh.

Both the army and the government denied the accusations and instead blamed the attacks on Rohingya militants.

HRW also urged the Myanmar authorities to open up the affected region to humanitarian aid and observers, following similar pleas by the UN and 14 diplomatic missions in the country in recent days.

Rakhine is home to more than a million Rohingyas, a community not recognised as citizens in the country and often shunned as Bangladeshi immigrants.

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Around 120,000 of them live severely restricted lives in 67 camps since the outbreak of sectarian violence in 2012 when at least 160 people died.

The sectarian conflict in Rakhine is one of the main challenges facing the Aung San Suu Kyi administration, the first democratic one in the country in over half a century. (IANS)

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EU Leaders Agree Making the 28-member Bloc Carbon Neutral by 2050

EU agrees to become carbon neutral by 2050

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EU aims to become carbon neutral by 2050. Wikimedia Commons

BY VISHAL GULATI

European Union leaders meeting in Brussels have agreed to make the 28-member bloc carbon neutral by 2050.

However, coal-reliant Poland has been given time until June to fully endorse the commitment to implement the agreed EU objective.

Climate experts told IANS for the first time the EU leaders, who met in Brussels on Thursday, came out with a time-frame by agreeing to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050, thereby opening the way to start a discussion on raising the EU’s 2030 climate target as soon as possible.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who is at the UN climate change conference (COP25), said on Friday that he was encouraged by the fact that the European Union decided to move ahead with its commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050.

“This example of #ClimateAction needs to be followed worldwide,” he tweeted.

Carbon Neutral
EU’s top priority is to reduce Carbon Emissions. Pixabay

In November last year the European Commission put forward a proposal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, a much needed long-term goal to bring the EU closer to meeting the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement goal and keeping temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Wednesday’s European Green Deal communication indicates that the European Commission will propose a new, substantially increased 2030 climate target by summer 2020.

Now that the net-zero emission goal is endorsed, the EU’s top priority is to adopt a new, increased climate target for 2030 well before next year’s UN Climate Summit, COP 26, in November.

EU leaders invited the European Commission to present a proposal for a new EU 2030 climate target in good time ahead of the UN Climate Conference.

COP26, taking place in Glasgow, is the international deadline by which all parties to the Paris Agreement must submit new and far more ambitious greenhouse gas emission reductions targets for 2030.

However, say climate experts, a couple of concessions were negotiated.

Poland has not been ready to fully commit to the implementation of the objective, but has also not blocked the collective endorsement of climate neutrality by 2050.

Also Read- Kids in LMICs Receive Excessive Amount of Antibiotic Prescriptions

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe Director Wendel Trio told IANS: “Setting a target of net zero emissions by 2050 is a vital and necessary first step to limit the escalating climate crisis.”

“But to jump-start climate action now in line with the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal, the EU needs to increase its target for 2030, not just for 2050.” (IANS)