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The world cannot forget the Rohingya | Myanmar



This week marks exactly three years since the Myanmar military poured into Rakhine State and launched a vicious operation against the Rohingya people. Over the course of a few weeks, thousands of women, men and children were killed, mutilated and raped, whole villages were burned to the ground, and hundreds of thousands fled into neighbouring Bangladesh.

Even for us Rohingya, who have been oppressed and rendered stateless in our home country for decades, the savagery of the violence in 2017 was unprecedented. Today, our plight has mostly disappeared from the headlines in international media, but our people are still suffering. We need the world’s help more than ever to end the genocide against us in Myanmar.

Close to a million Rohingya continue to live as refugees in Bangladesh, mainly in the southeastern district of Cox’s Bazar. Bangladesh has generously welcomed and hosted people who fled for their lives, but an overcrowded refugee camp is no place for a life of dignity. A whole generation of Rohingya children is growing up in deplorable conditions, with little access to education, or hope for the future.

What the refugees want the most is to return home to Myanmar, but that is simply not possible today. The 600,000 Rohingya who remain in Rakhine State live in an open-air prison. Every aspect of their lives is controlled by the state: To leave one’s village to attend school, to make a living or to go to a hospital usually requires special permission or a well-placed bribe.

At the moment, Myanmar is gearing up to hold a general election on November 8. It is the first vote since the historic election in 2015, when Aung San Suu Kyi‘s National League for Democracy (NLD) won in a landslide, ending decades of direct military rule. Many Rohingya supported the NLD at that time, but have since grown bitterly disillusioned with the party’s policies. Aung San Suu Kyi and her civilian government have proven complicit in the genocide against us by continuing to support the army’s actions and denying on international platforms what is happening on the ground.

Although in the past, many Rohingya in Myanmar were able to vote and run in elections, today they are being barred from both. In 2015, Myanmar abruptly withdrew temporary citizenship cards from ethnic Rohingya, which had given them the right to vote. This year, the authorities have also rejected members of the Rohingya community who have tried to register to run in the elections, claiming their parents were not citizens and that they, therefore, did not meet the criteria. This is despite the fact that some of these candidates have been allowed to run in previous elections.

There still is a glimmer of hope for the Rohingya, however: the momentum behind the international justice process. Last November, the Gambia filed a case against Myanmar in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), accusing it of committing genocide against the Rohingya. A few days later, the International Criminal Court announced that it was launching an investigation into the Myanmar military for crimes against humanity.

In January this year, the ICJ ordered Myanmar to end genocidal practices against the Rohingya, and to report regularly on how it complies with these orders. But even though the government has claimed it was improving conditions in Rakhine State since, in reality, almost nothing has changed. If anything, conditions have become even worse this year for the Rohingya, as fighting between the military and armed groups has intensified while the pandemic has swept through the region.

My own organisation, the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, has also brought a case against Aung San Suu Kyi, her government and the military before the Argentinian judiciary. It relies on the principle of universal jurisdiction – the notion that some heinous crimes can be tried anywhere, regardless of where they took place.

But for these efforts to be effective, we need the international community’s support. We have spent the past three years telling the world about our plight and telling the same stories over and over again. In return, we have received little more than sympathy and empty promises.

The world has failed to take concrete action to help the Rohingya. Despite the overwhelming evidence against Myanmar of their crimes, our reality is the same – Rohingya are suffering, whether in villages in Rakhine State or in refugee camps in Bangladesh.

The UN Security Council has remained paralysed for three years, failing to condemn Myanmar. The US and the EU have imposed individual sanctions on members of the security forces, but they do not go far enough in pressuring the military leadership. They have also refused to use the term “genocide”, in part because that would bring with it some legal obligations to act.

Rohingya are only asking for an opportunity to live a life of dignity in our own country. The oppression that has rendered us stateless and prisoners in our own homes must end immediately. Those responsible for the violence against us must be held to account to prevent it from ever happening again.

These are big but far from impossible tasks – history shows that genocidal regimes do not last long. One year from now, on the next anniversary, I hope we will have gotten closer to making this a reality.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema



When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.


Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded




The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19




Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  

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