News / Asia

UN, Burmese Officials Discuss Rohingya Citizenship

A Muslim woman weeps as she and others arrive at Thechaung camp refugee camp in Sittwe, Rakhine State, western Burma, October 28, 2012.
A Muslim woman weeps as she and others arrive at Thechaung camp refugee camp in Sittwe, Rakhine State, western Burma, October 28, 2012.
Daniel Schearf
The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator,Valerie Amos, is meeting with Burma's President Thein Sein after visiting displaced peoples camps in Rakhine and Kachin states.  Amos is expected to discuss the sensitive issue of citizenship for the Rohingya, a persecuted Muslim minority, as well as improving conditions and aid access in the camps.
 
Amos visited Kachin state, where fighting between the army and ethnic rebels along the China border has displaced tens of thousands of people.  She also traveled to western Rakhine state, where communal fighting this year between Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim minorities left close to 200 dead and 115,000 displaced.
 
The worst affected were the Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority considered one of the world's most persecuted.
 
United Nations emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos, August 16, 2012 file photo.United Nations emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos, August 16, 2012 file photo.
x
United Nations emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos, August 16, 2012 file photo.
United Nations emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos, August 16, 2012 file photo.
U.N. officials say Amos will discuss the issue of citizenship for the Rohingya with President Thein Sein.
 
Stewart Davies, a spokesman for the U.N.'s Office of Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs in Burma, notes the president has said Burma needs to address the issue of citizenship in a positive and inclusive manner.
 
"I think for her she would definitely be interested in advocating towards that as well and potentially even looking towards well, what are the practical steps and what are the timelines, what is the timeline in this regard," Davies says.
 
Citizenship for the Rohingya is sensitive in Burma, where most people and the government prefer to call them Bengalis. The term reflects the view that many consider them illegal migrants from Bangladesh -- despite the fact that many have lived in Burma for generations.
 
The vast majority of the displaced in camps in Rakhine state are Rohingya. But because of continuing tensions, humanitarian aid workers have received threats and intimidation for trying to help them.
 
The U.N. OCHA quoted Amos as saying the level of assistance varies significantly by camp and that security threats are a major challenge.  She also said camp conditions are overcrowded with substandard shelters and sanitation.
 
Davies says Amos will push President Thein Sein for better access as well as improved conditions in the camps.
 
"Most in need is shelter, food, non-food items like household goods, tarpaulins, those sorts of things, and health care services, water, sanitation and hygiene facilities," he explains. "But, all of them are desperately needed across the board."
 
Phil Robertson, deputy director for Asia at Human Rights Watch, says the U.N. humanitarian chief's visit and comments underscore the problems in Rakhine state, also known as Arakan.
 
"It's a welcome recognition of the dire situation that are facing persons in these internally displaced persons camps in Arakan State," Robertson says. "It's a reflection of reality.  And, it is an indictment of the policy of de facto segregation that the government of Burma appears to be pushing."
 
Robertson says the government has to find some way for the two groups to live together if they want to have a long-term solution to the conflict.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: lstmohican from: USA
December 07, 2012 11:29 AM
The UN should seriously consider relocating of the Rohingyas to other countries as offered by Myanmar. They should also be discussing the border security issues as stated by Aung San Suu Kyi, as the Muslim populace has embraced the Pan Islamism ideology in the porous border areas with Bangladesh.

In Response

by: Snowgrass from: USA
December 19, 2012 2:30 AM
Istmochlcan is right. AS an American Miss Amos see only present situation. Those Bangalis are very pretentable, One face infront of the people like Ms Amos and absolutely opposite face with native Citizens. Their Behavior too.Characters too,. Infront of Turky Foreign Ministy ,they show very pitiful th made foreign minister's wife cry, but behind them they beat, rape and kill the native citizens. Don't be diaboliced.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid