OIC calls on Myanmar to take ‘decisive steps’ over Rohingya crisis

Author: 
ARAB NEWS
Fri, 2017-01-20
ID: 
1484865999057332100

KUALA LUMPUR: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Thursday called on Myanmar to “take decisive steps” to tackle the Rohingya crisis.
An extraordinary session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers expressed “grave concern” over the eruption of violence in northern Rakhine state, which has resulted in the loss of life and displaced tens of thousands of Rohingya people.
It called on the Myanmar government to ensure that the security forces act in accordance with the rule of law and that all perpetrators of violence be held accountable.
The meeting also urged Myanmar to abide by its obligations under international law, humanitarian law and human rights covenants, and to restore the citizenship of Rohingya Muslims. It called for “all necessary measures to stop the violence and discrimination against the Rohingya Muslim minority and continued attempts to deny their culture and identity.”
The secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Dr. Yusuf bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen stressed that the OIC has sought to cooperate with the authorities in Myanmar at various levels, and called it to adopt a policy of transparency and justice towards ethnic and religious minorities.
He indicated that, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, more than 65,000 members of the Rohingya fled to Bangladesh between Oct. 9, 2016 and Jan. 5, in addition to the thousands who have been forced to flee to other OIC member states including Malaysia, and ASEAN countries during previous waves of violence.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told the opening of a special meeting that the violence against the Rohingya was no longer Myanmar’s internal affair, as it has fueled an exodus of refugees that could destabilize the region.
He warned that the violence must end otherwise militants including those from Daesh could infiltrate and radicalize the Rohingya.
“OIC member states are well aware that terrorist organizations such as Daesh could seek to take advantage of this situation,” Najib said.
Security forces in Buddhist-majority Myanmar are accused of widespread abuses against the Rohingya, including killings, rape and the burning of thousands of homes.
Myanmar’s army began the latest crackdown in Rakhine state in October after nine policemen were killed along the border with Bangladesh. The government and the army have rejected accusations of abuse, saying they have been conducting operations to clear the area of armed elements.
The OIC meeting also reiterated its stance on the Palestinian cause. The council confirmed its absolute condemnation of all illegal settlement activities carried out by Israel as an occupying power.
The organization welcomed the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2234 on the non-recognition of any changes affecting the pre-1967 borders.

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Women driving should be encouraged — visiting UN official

Author: 
Mohammed Rasooldeen
Fri, 2017-01-20
ID: 
1484865998967331800

RIYADH: Philip Alston, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, said Thursday that the Saudi government should launch an educational campaign to convince the people of the importance of women driving in the Kingdom.
Alston was addressing the media at the UN House in Riyadh at the end of his visit to the Kingdom.
Alston pointed out that the government should create an awareness program among the people to encourage women driving in the country. Being given to understand that there is some one million foreign drivers in the Kingdom, he said it would be economical for women to take up these positions for their domestic purposes.
“Lower middle-class working women could find it convenient and cost-effective if they drive their own vehicles to and from their workplaces,” Alston said. “The driving ban should be lifted, and women should no longer need authorization from male guardians to work or travel, ” he stressed.
Alston urged Saudi authorities to use Vision 2030 to enhance gender equality, especially for females in the poorer segments of society.
Saudi Arabia has been criticized internationally for its record on women’s rights and the special rapporteur highlighted the deep and enduring disadvantage caused by the persistence of many features of the guardianship system or the refusal to allow women drive cars. But he also noted that economic imperatives as well as increasing demands by Saudi women, have led to a number of improvements in recent years.
“Vision 2030 recognizes that Saudi women represent ‘a great asset,’ which is currently under-utilized, and the need to recognize women’s rights points in the same direction,” Alston said. “The 2012 decision allowing women to work in the retail sector transformed the lives of millions of women who were finally able to work. So, too, should the current economic transformation lift existing restrictions on women’s economic and other independence.”
Alston asked the Saudi government to recognize social protection as a human right, which he said would be in line with the Saudi Basic Law and Islamic principles and obligations. He also warned that the existing timetable for reform was unrealistically ambitious especially in light of experience of other countries showing the risks of major backlash against radical subsidy reforms.
“Despite the plethora of serious human rights issues in Saudi Arabia, the radically new approach reflected in Vision 2030, the National Transformation Program 2020 and the Fiscal Balance Program recognizes the need to encourage full female participation in the labor market, which will drive the cultural changes needed to enable women to become both more economically productive and more independent, ” Alston added.
Special rapporteurs are independent experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to visit countries and offer recommendations in line with their international human rights obligations.
During his 12-day visit to Saudi Arabia, the human rights expert met ministers and other senior officials, and met with experts from the non-profit sector, academics, activists and individuals living in poverty in Riyadh, Jeddah and Jizan.
The special rapporteur will present a report with his full findings and recommendations to the Human Rights Council at its 35th session in June.

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Saudi National Campaign sends more aid to Syria

Author: 
ARAB NEWS
Fri, 2017-01-20
ID: 
1484865998867331500

AMMAN: The Saudi National Campaign to support Syrian refugees has sent off a third batch of aid through its initiative “For you, O Aleppo.”
The aid convoy included food supplies so as to help those displaced from the war-ravaged northern Syrian city.
Khaled Al-Salama, the head of the National Campaign’s bureau in Turkey, said his office had started coordinating with the Turkish authorities since the beginning of the bloody battle in Aleppo.
Al-Salama said the campaign had distributed 167,000 meals, following a field study conducted by the campaign’s office in Turkey to identify the Syrians’ needs.
The campaign’s regional manager, Dr. Badr bin Abdul Rahman Al-Samhan said the aid convoys are a response to the directives of King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to support the Syrian people and stand by them during the crisis.

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Saudi National Campaign sends more aid to Syria

Author: 
ARAB NEWS
Fri, 2017-01-20
ID: 
1484865998867331500

AMMAN: The Saudi National Campaign to support Syrian refugees has sent off a third batch of aid through its initiative “For you, O Aleppo.”
The aid convoy included food supplies so as to help those displaced from the war-ravaged northern Syrian city.
Khaled Al-Salama, the head of the National Campaign’s bureau in Turkey, said his office had started coordinating with the Turkish authorities since the beginning of the bloody battle in Aleppo.
Al-Salama said the campaign had distributed 167,000 meals, following a field study conducted by the campaign’s office in Turkey to identify the Syrians’ needs.
The campaign’s regional manager, Dr. Badr bin Abdul Rahman Al-Samhan said the aid convoys are a response to the directives of King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to support the Syrian people and stand by them during the crisis.

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KSA, US identify new areas of cooperation

Author: Mohammed RasooldeenFri, 2017-01-20ID: 1484866340627361300RIYADH: The Kingdom and the US have identified new areas of cooperation under the Saudi-American Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) at a meeting held between the tw…

KSA, US identify new areas of cooperation

Author: Mohammed RasooldeenFri, 2017-01-20ID: 1484866340627361300RIYADH: The Kingdom and the US have identified new areas of cooperation under the Saudi-American Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) at a meeting held between the tw…

6 Britons die in road accident after performing Umrah

Author: 
AISHA FAREED
Fri, 2017-01-20
ID: 
1484847262525350700

JEDDAH: Six Britons were killed in a minibus crash on their way back to Madinah after performing Umrah in Makkah.
Four people from Manchester and two from Glasgow died in the accident on their way from Makkah to Madinah on Wednesday. An infant believed to be younger than two months is reportedly among the victims.
Two other children are believed to have been injured.
The Scottish couple Mohammad and Talat Aslam, parents of five, were named among the dead by the Glasgow Central Mosque.
“We are supporting the family of six British people who have sadly died following a road accident in Madinah,” British Consul General Barrie Peach told the Arab News.
He said the British Consulate is extending help to several other British nationals who were injured in the crash.
“Our thoughts are with the victims and their families at this very difficult time,” Peach said.
The group had just completed Umrah in Makkah, according to Glasgow Central Mosque.
The bus that crashed was carrying 12 passengers. Mohammad Arif, director of the tour operator, said the group had been traveling in a 14-seater 2016 Toyota Hiace, operated by a Saudi company, when one of the vehicle’s tires burst on the motorway 90 miles from Madinah city.
Manchester-based tour operators Haji Tours confirmed that the group was performing Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage made by Muslims in Makkah.
The driver of the minibus survived.
A statement by the Scottish mosque said: “Mr Mohammad Aslam and Mrs. Talat Aslam of Glasgow, the parents of Shehla, Saba, Omar, Osman and Haroon, have returned to the mercy of Allah.”
On Wednesday, Jan. 18, they had just completed Umrah and were traveling in a minibus to visit our beloved Prophet’s Masjid in Madinah, and were tragically involved in a fatal accident. Four members of another family from Manchester were also killed in this tragedy, according to the statement.

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