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Syrian crisis: Israelis quibble as Europe, Australia pledge to take in refugees

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Jerusalem: Opposing views surfaced when Israeli politicians on Sunday opined on how Israel should grapple with the Syrian refugees’ crisis.

Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister, said while Israel has helped Syria in the last four years amid the Syrian civil war, it could not take in Syrian refugees into its territory, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Israel is not indifferent to the human tragedy of the refugees from Syria and Africa. We have already cared for approximately 1,000 wounded people from fighting in Syria and helped them rehabilitate their lives. But Israel is a small country that lacks demographic and geographic depth, therefore, we must control our borders,” Netanyahu said on Sunday.

Israel began fence building on Sunday on its eastern border with Jordan, down from the town of Eilat up to northern Israel and the Golan Heights. Netanyahu’s statements refute the views opined by head of Israeli opposition bloc in the parliament, Isaac Herzog.

He called on Israeli government to open doors on Syrian refugees over the weekend. Herzog, the chief of the Labour party, accused the government of forgetting the lessons of Jewish history.

Cyprus rescues 114 refugees

In a separate incident, authorities concerned rescued 114 Syrian refugees which included 30 children and five infants from a fishing boat that drifted off the Cyprus shores. The officials quoted on Sunday.

An official statement revealed that an overnight rescue operation was managed after a cargo ship alerted the Cypriot Search and Rescue Centre on Saturday night that it had received a signal from the drifting fishing boat seeking help, Xinhua reported.

It continued to add that aircraft and vessels of the Cypriot navy and police took part in the operation, which was completed early Sunday morning. The Syrians were brought to the Southeastern port city of Larnaca and were received by medical teams and social welfare workers.

“All necessary measures are being taken for the welfare of the refugees in line with European Union directives,” said Interior Minister Socrates Hasikos, who headed the operation.

Britain to take 15,000 refugees, plans strike

Britain will accept 15,000 refugees from Syria and is considering military action against IS militants within syrian_refugee_crisis

one month, media reported on Sunday. In a plan to tackle the humanitarian crisis, Britain is considering launching a military and intelligence offensive against human traffickers, reported Xinhua news agency.

The country is not joining the system, but “we will show that we are pulling our weight”, a government official said.

On September 4, British Prime Minister David Cameron said the country will provide resettlement to “thousands” more refugees in response to the deteriorating humanitarian crisis.

Over 3,500 arrive in Munich

More than 3,500 Syrian refugees have reached Munich from Hungary via Austria, and as many as 3,000 are expected to arrive on Sunday.

German police authorities said three special trains with refugees are expected to reach on Sunday, Xinhua reported.

“We prepare ourselves for 5,000 to 7,000 refugees,” said Christoph Hillenbrand, head of district government of Upper Bavaria.

Australia to accept more refugees: PM Abbott

Tony_Abbott_-_2010On Sunday, Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott announced that he is prepared to accept more refugees from war-torn Syria, but within the current humanitarian intake.

“No! We are proposing to take more people from this region as part of our very substantial commitment. Our focus will be on families and women and children, especially of persecuted minorities, who have sought refuge in camps neighbouring Syria and Iraq,” he was quoted as saying.

In the last financial year, Australia settled more than 4,400 people from Syria and Iraq, Abbott said, adding that the overall refugee intake will increase to 18,750 by 2018.

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Rohingya Shot in Rakhine Camp By Myanmar Police Raises United Nation’s Concern

A special U.N. fact-finding mission said the military acted "with genocidal intent" against the Rohingyas.

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Rohingya, myanmar, violence,asylum
Rohingya refugee children shout slogans during a protest against the repatriation process at Unchiprang refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, in Bangladesh. VOA

Reports of shootings, allegedly by Myanmar police, at a camp for Rohingya refugees in Rakhine state have sparked concern by United Nations officials.

Knut Ostby, the U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, tweeted that he is “deeply concerned about the reports of shooting in Ah Nauk Ye camp in central #Rakhine, #Myanmar which holds IDPs who fled violence in 2012. I call for calm, non-violence and restraint. ”

The Reuters news agency quotes eyewitnesses as saying Myanmar police shot and injured four Rohingyas Sunday, while detaining two men accused of smuggling people out of a camp for displaced people in western Rakhine state.

toilets, studentsac, Rohingya, myanmar
A new toilet recently installed in a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. VOA

The report said about 20 police descended on Ah Nauk Ye camp, 15 kilometers east of the state’s capital Sittwe, and apprehended the two men who were accused of owning the “rickety vessel,” used in an attempt to smuggle 160 people, including 25 children, out of the camp. The watercraft was stopped south of Yangoon.

An eyewitness told Reuters that when the police came into the camp “people from the camp went out to look and police shot at people.”

The police, however, told the news agency that Rohingyas surrounded them with swords and threw stones at them. “I heard that Bengali from the camp tried to grab the arrested people back from the police and police had to fire warning shots,” police inspector Than Htay from a nearby police station, said.

Rohingya, myanmar
Workers build a Rohingya repatriation center in Gunndum near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. VOA

People from Myanmar call the Rohingya Muslims “Bengali,” implying they are from Bangladesh and not from Myanmar.

None of the first Rohingya Muslims on a list to return to Myanmar showed up at their departure points in Bangladesh Thursday, the first day they were scheduled to be sent back under a repatriation agreement between the two nations.

About 150 Rohingya refugees were slated to be transported from the crowded camps in Cox’s Bazar back to northern Rakhine state, the region where they and more than 700,000 others escaped in August 2017 from a scorched earth campaign by Myanmar’s military in response to a series of attacks committed by Rohingya militants. Some of the refugees on the list are believed to have gone into hiding to avoid being sent back.

Rohingya, India,toilets, studentsac, Rohingya, myanmar
A Rohingya refugee woman draws water from a hand pump at a temporary shelter in New Delhi, India.

Meanwhile, about 1,000 angry Rohingyas, including children, demonstrated against the repatriation effort at one of the camps.

Bangladesh Refugee Commissioner Abul Kalam told reporters that the refugees cannot be forced to return to Myanmar under the terms of the agreement.

Human rights groups are calling on Myanmar and Bangladesh to end their plans to send Rohingya Muslims back to Rakhine State, where the United Nations says they are subject to extrajudicial killings and other atrocities carried out by Myanmar’s military.

Amnesty International called the organized return of the Rohingya a “reckless move, which puts lives at risk.”

toilets, studentsac, Rohingya, myanmar
A deforested section of the Chakmakul camp for Rohingya refugees clings to a hillside in southern Bangladesh, Feb. 13, 2018. VOA

“These women, men and children would be sent back into the Myanmar military’s grasp with no protection guarantees, to live alongside those who torched their homes and whose bullets they fled,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty’s East and Southeast Asia director.

Also Read: Rohingya Muslims Remain Fearful Due to Forceful Repatriation

Bill Frelick, the refugee rights director for Human Rights Watch, said Dhaka “will be stunned to see how quickly international opinion turns against it if it starts sending unwilling Rohingya refugees back into harm’s way in Myanmar.”

A special U.N. fact-finding mission said the military acted “with genocidal intent” against the Rohingyas, citing numerous atrocities such as extrajudicial killings, gang rapes and the torching of entire villages. (VOA)