Oct. 18, 2017
Amnesty Condemns Myanmar Violence
Amnesty International released a report on Wednesday condemning Myanmar's security forces for violence against Rohingya. It is based on interviews with dozens of refugees. It says hundreds of thousands of them are victims of widespread and systematic attacks by security forces, including torture and the burning of houses.
The Myanmar government says it is fighting against Islamic insurgents, but the report points out that the government makes no effort to distinguish between the militants and ordinary people.
It also says the government has shown no signs of stopping the violence. It recommends that it puts an end to hostilities and ensures that all Rohingya can return in safety and with dignity.
UN Undersecretary General Jeffrey Feltman finished his visit to Myanmar Tuesday. During his stay, he asked the government to grant humanitarian workers full access to Rakhine state.
But the UN spokesperson is not happy about the talks.
"We do not have an access freely, free and unfettered access for humanitarian colleagues. I don't think announcing the trip we had expected any quick wins. This is ongoing discussion with the government of Myanmar," Stephane Dujarric, UN spokesperson for the Secretary-General, says.
Meanwhile, UN agencies have appealed for more support for Rohingya refugees, especially children, who account for more than half of the displaced people.
"Rohingya children have already endured atrocities. All of them need the lifesaving basics -- shelter, food, water, vaccinations, protection -- not tomorrow or next week, or next month, but right now. UNICEF is appealing to donors to help fulfil these children's most fundamental right to survive," says UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado.
UNICEF is calling on the international community to donate 76 million dollars to support Rohingya children for the next 6 months, but so far it has received only 7 percent of the funds it needs.
Power Plant Halted to Ease Pollution
The Indian government shut down a coal-fired power plant and banned all private diesel generators in the capital New Delhi on Wednesday. The measure is intended to reduce air pollution in one of the most polluted cities in the world.
The closure of the Badarpur power plant and the generator ban, which run until March, are based on the government's action plan to improve air quality. The government also says it could ban building construction and even shut down schools if the pollution gets worse.
The measure comes a day before the big Hindu festival of Diwali. The event is cited as a major cause of pollution due to the popularity of fireworks during the celebration.
India's Supreme Court temporarily banned sales of fireworks in and around the capital to ease pollution. Three years ago, a WHO survey found the city had a dangerously high level of PM2.5, a hazardous airborne pollutant.