ASEAN and Myanmar Action on Rohingya Refugee Crisis Now Imminent

Jun 8, 2019 | Asia, Myanmar, NEWS

Will there ever be peace for Myanmar’s stateless Rohingya minority?

Compounded by years of international pressure and criticism, it appears that the embattled Burmese state is now opening up to the possibility of mediation with regard to the 2017 Rohingya crisis. Only two years ago, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees fled from Myanmar’s Rakhine State as Burmese military cracked down on hapless Rohingya communities, citing terrorist activities and the need to defend sovereign soil.

With firebrands like Wirathu still spreading hate speech against Muslims, both Bangladesh and Myanmar face a continuing crisis that can no longer be addressed by simply refusing to acknowledge the problem in the first place.

ASEAN’s role

Recently an ASEAN-ERAT team was deployed to Myanmar to assess the current conditions at the Rakhine State, to pave the way for the eventual repatriation of the stateless Rohingya. However, the current clashes between the insurgent Arakan Army and Myanmar security forces have frozen repatriation efforts, and have made it doubly harder to accomplish a lot on the ground.

Kutupalong Refugee Camp - Bangladesh - DFID UK Department for International Development

Kutupalong Refugee Camp – Bangladesh | DFID UK Department for International Development

It is becoming a fortunate reality in Myanmar that an increasingly large portion of the public is acknowledging that something has to be done about the problem now, and the previous non-interference stance of the surrounding ASEAN community is no longer helping the crisis.

Rakhine and Kachin states under siege

Diplomatic measures, as well as a closer look on the more practical, domestic dimensions of the crisis are seen as areas where the ASEAN can help Myanmar. According to a combined statement by INGOs operating in Myanmar, including Action Contre La Faim and Relief International, up 95,000 people in the Rakhine State have been cut off from essential and basic services due to the on-going clashes between the Arakan Army and Myanmar’s military.

The northern Kachin State is also suffering from increased military operations, and the government has set negotiations with insurgents on April 30.

According to the Kachin Independence Organization, all the residents want now is peace, and to be able to return to their homes. On the Bangladeshi side, the government’s initial plan to relocate more than 100,000 Rohingyas to the island of Bhasan Char has fallen apart, as international groups insisted that the relocation should be completely voluntary on the part of the Rohingyas. Bangladesh is host to around 1.2 million Rohingyas, and now faces an uncertain political future because of the Myanmar exodus.

BTS Walks Louis Vuitton FW21 Show in Korea

It seems BTS did not only take k-pop by storm but also fashion. The K-pop group walked Louis Vuitton’s FW21 runway as their global ambassadors. The pop icons graced the show in a fashion film directed by Jeon Go-woon.

The ‘Tube Houses’ that Dominate Hanoi’s Streets

Tall, thin and brightly colored, Hanoi’s “tube houses” dominate the city’s streets as nine million people compete for space in Vietnam’s bustling capital.

Hackers Steal $97M from Japanese Crypto Exchange

Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Liquid was scrambling Friday to recover stolen assets worth nearly $100 million, in the second such major heist by hackers in recent days.

Going SOFT, Going HARD: The Transforming of the Korean Man

What makes a Korean man, well, manly?

Philippines’ Bloody Easter Spectacle

Every year, hundreds of Filipinos participate in a reenactment of the crucifixion

Chinese Ambassador Summoned Over COVID-19 Conspiracy Theory Tweet

The United States on Friday summoned China’s ambassador after a senior official in Beijing tweeted the “ridiculous” suggestion that the US military started the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Department said.

Capital Confusion: South Korean Video Highlights… Pyongyang

A climate change summit hosted by South Korea has drawn ridicule for kicking off with a promotional video suggesting it was taking place in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang.

China Punishes NBA as Crisis Over Democracy Tweet

China on Tuesday pulled NBA exhibition games from television screens as the league faced an escalating punishment campaign in the lucrative Chinese market ignited by an American basketball executive’s pro-democracy tweet.

Women Allowed to Attend University under Taliban Rule

Afghan women will be allowed to study at university but there would be a ban on mixed classes under their rule, the Taliban’s acting higher education minister said on Sunday.

China Limits Children’s Online Gaming to Three Hours a Week

China on Monday announced a drastic cut to children’s online gaming time to just three hours a week during term time, the latest move in a broad crackdown on tech giants in the world’s biggest gaming market.

Heavy Metal Remains Underground in South Korea

Head-banging away in the shadow of a multi-billion-dollar K-pop industry, South Korea’s axe-wielding heavy metal bands shred a modest trail of destruction.

Gyms in South Korea Banning Fast Music to Prevent Heavy Breathing

South Korean mega-hit “Gangnam Style” may be taken off gym playlists in the greater Seoul region — but K-pop giants BTS can stay — under new rules aimed at stemming a rising tide of coronavirus infections.

From Tattoos to Tokens at Tokyo’s First Crypto Art Show

Tokyo tattoo artist Ichi Hatano’s usual business has dwindled during the pandemic, but now he’s keen to mine a new stream of income at Japan’s first crypto art exhibition.

The Struggles of Exiled Pakistan Journalist Syed Fawad Ali Shah

Pakistani journalist Syed Fawad Ali Shah has been forced to go into hiding in Malaysia after his home country exiled him for reporting injustices in Pakistan’s War on Terror. Shah did not only say goodbye to his profession, but also his family and loved ones.

Dozen Thai Student Activists Charged with Royal Defamation

A dozen Thai pro-democracy student activists were charged with royal defamation and sedition on Thursday, their lawyers said, over a rally last year that demanded reforms to Thailand’s unassailable monarchy.

No COVID-19 Vaccines for India’s Frightened Mums-to-Be

Tanya Ashnigdh is four months pregnant and frightened, one of the millions of expectant mothers excluded from India’s faltering vaccination drive despite being at greater risk from Covid-19.

China’s ‘Singles Day’ Lifts Sales for Thai Cosmetic Surgery

A Thai cosmetic surgery clinic saw patients snap up nose jobs and eyelid operations for its first-ever “Singles’ Day” sale Wednesday — capitalising on the world’s largest shopping bonanza to boost business hit by the coronavirus epidemic.

‘Completely Smashed’ – Oceania Gamers Suffer eSports Setback

Despite a global boom, the closure of one of the southern hemisphere’s biggest eSports leagues has left its players in Australia and across Oceania facing an uncertain future.

Can-Do Attitude: Wuhan Virus Lockdown Captured in Craft Beer

When the coronavirus emerged in Wuhan and the Chinese city went into a strict 76-day lockdown, Wang Fan resolved to commemorate the turbulent period in the way he knew best — through beer.

Meet the Wingsuit Jumper Bringing the ‘Cool’ to Chinese Sport

Zhang Shupeng appears untroubled as he surveys the jagged mountains of a national park in central China — before diving head-first off a cliff to bullet down at 230 kilometres (140 miles) an hour.

Japan’s Problem With Celibacy and Sexlessness

Japan is on the brink of a national calamity with its declining birth rates that will affect a third of its population by 2060.

$69 Million Digital Art Buyer Shines Light on ‘NFT’ Boom

The blockchain entrepreneur who paid a record $69.3 million for a digital artwork looks, at first glance, nothing like a wealthy collector.

A ‘Trieu’ Leading Man: Asian American to Lead in ‘Monsterland’

Hulu’s Monsterland is unlike any other. The anthology show is bringing a new meaning to the word “horror,” star Trieu Tran portrays the ultimate hodgepodge of immigrant fear, wishful thinking, and sadness.

The Skincare Brand Celebrities Actually Use

Your favorite celebrities aren’t born with great skin. It actually takes a lot of work. We’ve sort through thousands of products and found out their secret to glowing skin. Ready to find out?

‘Victory for Children’: Philippines Set to Raise Age of Consent

Manila teenager Rose Alvarez was 13 when she started having sex with a man who was more than twice her age. That would be statutory rape in most countries, but not in the Philippines.

NGO Found Bags and Balloons Waste Most Responsible for Entanglement Incidents

A dead manatee in Florida was found to have swallowed so many plastic bags they formed a cantaloupe-sized ball in its stomach, while a baby turtle had its intestines perforated by tiny plastic fragments.

From Mines to COVID: Cambodia Dogs Train to Sniff out Virus

Cambodian anti-landmine authorities are training dogs to sniff out Covid-19, hoping the sharp-nosed canines normally used to detect underground explosives can keep the virus on a tight leash.

People with Neanderthals DNA Can Make Covid-19 More Severe

Covid-19 patients with a snippet of Neanderthal DNA that crossed into the human genome some 60,000 years ago run a higher risk of severe complications from the disease, researchers have reported.

‘Mrs Sri Lanka’ Regains Title after On-Stage Fracas

A Sri Lankan beauty pageant winner who had her crown yanked off by last year’s champion in an ugly on-stage fracas has been re-declared the victor and says she will sue.

Hong Kong: Shot Protester Charged, as Gov Moves to ‘Ban Face Masks’

A teenage pro-democracy protester shot by a Hong Kong police officer was on Thursday charged with rioting, as authorities were reportedly set to ban the wearing of face masks at public rallies.

International Community Calls for ‘Urgent End’ to Taliban Offensive

More than a dozen diplomatic missions in Afghanistan on Monday called for “an urgent end” to the Taliban’s ruthless military offensive, saying it was at odds with claims they want to secure a political deal to end the conflict.

Frustrated by Indonesia Traffic: Citizens Build Homemade Helicopter

Indonesia’s notorious traffic gridlock has been known to send commuters into a spin, but one man has decided to rise above the daily grind – by building his very own helicopter.

Vietnam Environmental Activist Sentenced to Six Years

A Vietnamese environmental activist was beaten in prison for refusing to confess his crimes, his wife told AFP Friday in the one-party communist state notorious for jailing critics.

Under Pressure: Grindr to Sell for $608 Million by Chinese Tech Firm

One of China’s biggest mobile gaming companies is selling popular gay dating app Grindr for $608 million after pressure from US authorities concerned over the potential misuse of user data.

China Plans Triumphant 70th Anniversary Despite Headwinds

China marks 70 years of Communist rule next week, with a massive military parade in Beijing anchoring celebrations of its emergence as a global superpower, despite a damaging year of trade tensions with the US and pro-democracy unrest in Hong Kong.

Hardline Pakistani Cleric Detained for Threatening Malala Yousafzai

A firebrand Pakistani scholar has been detained for making death threats against Nobel prize laureate Malala Yousafzai over her comments on marriage, officials said Friday.

Operation Empty Plate: China’s Campaign on Food Waste

Chinese diners are being told to order less food as part of a campaign by President Xi Jinping to tackle waste and embrace thrift.

Dying To Be White: India’s Whiteness Complex

India’s fixation on whiteness is as old as the country’s history – but where is it leading now?

Ex-Colombian Rebel Heading for Paralympics in Tokyo

Maimed in a horrific bombing, Colombian athlete Juan Jose Florian emerged from South America’s longest conflict with three missing limbs and one clear goal — to win gold at next year’s Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Japan Festival Drops ‘Comfort Women’ Film

A local film festival in suburban Tokyo has come under fire for dropping a movie examining views on the highly controversial issue of sex slavery and Japan’s wartime military brothels.

Native Tibetan NYPD Officer Charged with Spying for China

US authorities have charged a New York police officer with espionage, accusing him of gathering information about the city’s Tibetan community for the Chinese government.

Bangkok’s Motorcycle Taxi Drivers Become Rebel Alliance with Thai Democracy Protestors

Orange-vested drivers of motorbike taxis have become allies to Thailand’s pro-democracy protesters gathering across traffic-snarled Bangkok, offering lifts and keeping an eye out for trouble.

Hosszu Dethroned as Australia Shatter Relay World Record

Japan’s Yui Ohashi dethroned Hungarian 400m medley queen Katinka Hosszu Sunday as Tunisia won a rare swimming gold medal and Australia’s all-conquering women’s 4x100m relay team smashed their own world record.

World Wildlife Plummets More Than Two-Thirds in 50 Years

Global animal, bird and fish populations have plummeted more than two-thirds in less than 50 years due to rampant over-consumption, experts said Thursday in a stark warning to save nature in order to save ourselves.

Sales of Electric Vehicles Surge in China

Sales of electric vehicles in China rose 10 percent last year, data showed Wednesday, amid a post-pandemic economic recovery and a push to establish the world’s largest auto market as a leader for green technology.

South Korean Man Escaped Twice from Strict Hong Kong Quarantine Rules

A South Korean man who twice broke coronavirus lockdown regulations jumped out of a moving minibus in a failed bid to escape being transferred to a strict government-controlled quarantine facility, Hong Kong police and media reported Monday.

Vietnam Jails Four Activists Up to 10 Years on Anti-State Charges

Four activists have been jailed for up to ten years after Vietnamese courts found them guilty of spreading “anti-state propaganda”.

$500 Million Burglary Nets Stamps and Calligraphy in Hong Kong

A brazen Hong Kong burglar made off with a collection of stamps and calligraphy worth a reported $500 million in a daylight heist, a police source said Wednesday.

Cambodia’s Tourist Hotspot Bans Dog Meat Trade

The Cambodian tourist town of Siem Reap has banned the dog meat trade, a victory for animal rights campaigners who describe the area as the “lynchpin” of an industry that slaughters millions of creatures each year.

COVID-Themed Offerings for Malaysia ‘Tomb Sweeping Day’

Paper masks and goggles are among offerings that ethnic Chinese in Malaysia will burn to mark “Tomb Sweeping Day”, hoping their ancestors can use them to fight the coronavirus in the afterlife.

Britain’s William and Kate Begin ‘Complex’ Tour of Pakistan

Prince William and his wife Kate arrived in Pakistan to a red carpet welcome late Monday for their “most complex” tour to date, with Islamabad eager to tout improved security after years of violent militancy.