Rohingya Demand U.N. Security Council Pursue Justice
Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh urged a visiting delegation from the U.N. Security Council to pursue justice for Myanmar’s military campaign.
Refugees presented a list of demands to the 15-member delegation during its visit, including citizenship, rehabilitation of destroyed homes and bringing Myanmar to the International Criminal Court.
Despite emotional scenes, in which sobbing refugees threw themselves into the arms of visiting officials who described the visit as “overwhelming,” any U.N. Security Council effort to put sanctions on Myanmar or refer the case to the ICC will likely face a veto from China and Russia.
The delegation met with Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina who urged them to ask Myanmar to take back refugees under U.N. supervision. They also traveled to Myanmar and met with civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the military commander-in-chief Sr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, who both offered pledges to investigate abuses.
The officials were permitted to visit Myanmar’s Rakhine state, where a brutal crackdown sent 700,000 refugees fleeing over the border last summer. Myanmar had previously blocked a U.N.-appointed fact-finding committee from visiting the area.
Local officials took the U.N. delegates to reception centers being built for displaced Rohingya. The refugees urged the delegation to call for a halt to construction, fearing they will effectively be confined to prison camps.
Women, Children From ‘Migrant Caravan’ Seek Asylum in U.S.
The first group of Central Americans who traveled through Mexico in a “migrant caravan” were able to seek asylum at the U.S. border.
After initially being turned away – due to a bottleneck at the border, according to officials – eight women and children were allowed to enter the U.S. to start their asylum claims.
Another 140-odd people were waiting at the border to file claims, according to organizers of the migrant caravan, which aims to raise awareness of and protect migrants against the dangers of the journey out of Central America.
The Trump administration seized on the caravan to project a tough line on asylum seekers and make the case for tightening the border. The Justice Department said it was charging 11 other members of the caravan with illegal entry to the U.S.
Canada Asks U.S. to Amend Safe Third Country Agreement
Canada has asked the Trump administration to amend the “Safe Third Country Agreement” to enable Canada to send back more asylum seekers to the U.S., Reuters reported.
Under the agreement, asylum seekers in the U.S. cannot seek refuge in Canada by asking for asylum at a border crossing, based on the principle that the U.S. is a safe country for refugees.
However, there is a loophole, whereby asylum seekers who reach Canadian territory without going through an official border crossing can claim asylum in Canada.
Following the election of Donald Trump, the number of asylum seekers crossing the border into Canada has soared. Citing unnamed officials, Reuters reported that Canada asked the U.S. to change the agreement to allow Canada to return asylum seekers who cross anywhere along the border.
A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson told the news agency it is reviewing Canada’s proposal but no decision has yet been taken.
- The New Yorker: The Trump Administration’s Hard Line on Refugees Comes Under Fire
- Foreign Policy: There’s No Escape From Australia’s Refugee Gulag
- The Intercept: Border Patrol Targets Prominent Humanitarian Group as Criminal Organization
- Mother Jones: No One Knows How Immigration Affects Wages and Jobs. Especially Donald Trump.