A vessel carrying Rohingya refugees capsized in the Bay of Bengal Tuesday, killing at least 15 people. The wooden fishing boat carrying 130 Rohingya capsized near Saint Martin’s Island. Captain Waseem Maqsood, coastguard commander in the Chittagong division, told CNN that 71 people were rescued alive, while more than 40 people are still unaccounted for. A coastguard vessel, two navy ships and dive teams are currently trying to find the remaining passengers.
In a defiant closing address to the UN’s highest tribunal, Aung San Suu Kyi has pleaded with its 17 international judges to dismiss allegations that Myanmar has committed genocide and urged them instead to allow the country’s court martial system to deal with any human rights abuses. The Nobel peace prize winner’s decision to attend the court in person has astounded human rights groups.
Myanmar’s former pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday denied the armed forces committed genocide against the Rohingya minority, telling the UN’s top court the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Muslims was the unfortunate result of a battle with insurgents. Suu Kyi denied allegations the army had killed civilians, raped women and torched houses in 2017.
The U.N.’s highest court on Tuesday begins a hearing into allegations of genocide in Myanmar over the military campaign against the Rohingya minority, with leader Aung San Suu Kyi set to defend those who once held her under house arrest. Myanmar’s military began a harsh counterinsurgency campaign against the Rohingya in August 2017 in response to an insurgent attack. More than 700,000 Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh.
Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi spoke at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Vietnam on Thursday and admitted the Rohingya Muslim displacement situation ‘could have been handled better.’ Suu Kyi also defended the internationally condemned arrests of two Reuters journalists, saying their jailing had ‘nothing to do with freedom of expression at all.’
United Nations officials accused Facebook of playing a ‘determining role’ in spreading hate speech in Myanmar and influencing possible genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority. UN Myanmar investigator Yanghee Lee says Facebook is an integral part of public, civil, and private life in Myanmar, and the government uses the platform to communicate information to citizens.
Bangladesh summoned Myanmar’s Ambassador Lwin Oo, Thursday, to ask for the immediate removal of the troops that have been deployed, with heavy weapons, to line their shared border where thousands of Rohingya refugees have taken shelter. Nearly 100,00 Rohingya have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh since August, after attacks labeled ‘ethnic cleansing’ by the United Nations.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum revoked the human rights award awarded to Myanmar civil leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, in 2012, citing the Rohingya Muslims massacre continuing under her watch. The museum wrote to the leader, saying they hoped she ‘would have done something to condemn and stop the military’s brutal campaign.’
More than 50 people are believed to have died in a mudslide at a jade mining site in northern Myanmar, a lawmaker representing the area said Tuesday. Tin Soe said three bodies have been recovered and 54 people remain missing after the accident Monday night in the Hpakant area of Kachin state. The mud flowed down on the workers from a collapsed reservoir made from a disused mining pit to contain materials discarded from the mining process. Hpakant, 600 miles north of Myanmar’s biggest city, Yangon, is the center of the world’s biggest and most lucrative jade mining industry.
The first official day of the planned repatriation of thousands of Rohingyas to Myanmar was a failure as no one agreed to return. Despite a joint deal between Bangladesh and Myanmar, the UN says people should not be forced to return. The repatriation plan was met by mass protests in Rohingya refugee camps.