AU Diplomat to Address FSI Ambassadorial Lecture Forum

first_imgAmbassador Harrison Oluwatoyin Solaja, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, is expected to serve as Guest Lecturer at the Ambassadorial Lecture Forum (ALF) of the Gabriel L. Dennis Foreign Service Institute (FSI).The ALF, which is slated for Wednesday, August 26, at 3 p.m., will be held in the C. Cecil Dennis, Jr. Auditorium of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.Ambassador Solaja will be the sixth lecturer of the ALF, which was launched on January 3, 2010. Ambassador Solaja, a Nigerian, born on November 25, 1956, is a 1980 graduate of the University of Ife. Among his rich list of credentials, the AU Diplomat served from 2005 to 2008 as Nigeria’s Minister Plenipotentiary at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, D.C., USA. He also served as Chief of Protocol of his country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs from September 2009 to July 2011.He assumed the position of Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission to Liberia and Sierra Leone on October 4, 2011. In the first Ambassadorial Lecture Forum held in 2010, H.E. Chief Ojo Maduekwe, CFR, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, served as Guest Lecturer. That lecture recognized Ambassador Charles T. O. King, who served as Liberia’s first Ambassador to the then newly independent Federal Republic of Nigeria from 1961 to 1968.The fifth ALF was held on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. The Guest Lecturer was H.E. Masilo Esau Mabeta, Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa to Liberia. That lecture recognized Ambassador Neh Rita Sangai Dukuly-Tolbert, former Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, France, Spain and Switzerland. Meanwhile, on the day of the sixth ALF, Ambassador E. Sumo Jones will be the honoree. Among the honoree’s many credentials, including serving as Acting Head of State of Liberia for three days in October 1981, he was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary accredited to the Republic of Guinea from 2007 to 2012. He had also served as Superintendent and Senator of Lofa County in the 1970s and early 1980. In September 1981, he served as Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs.The Forum highlights Liberia’s former ambassadors’ role and contribution to Liberian Diplomacy and Foreign Policy achievements and also presents an opportunity for lectures on topical diplomatic issues on the international agenda. The outcome of the ALF will be a documentation of activities of Liberia Foreign Service officers, who have made immense contributions to Liberia’s Foreign Policy over the years. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

India Deports Rohingya Muslims, Drawing Ire From United Nations

first_imgIndia deported seven Rohingya Muslims who had fled their native Myanmar back to their country on Thursday, sparking concerns that the move could endanger their lives and violate international laws that protect refugees.The decision comes as India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has escalated its rhetorical attacks on migrants who have entered the country illegally. The party’s powerful president, Amit Shah, has repeatedly promised to deport all such migrants, and portrayed them as a security threat. At a public rally in September, he likened them to “termites.”The deportation also comes as the northeastern state of Assam, where the seven men were imprisoned since 2012, ramps up efforts to identify and deport illegal immigrants.“If someone enters the country illegally, we will send them back,” said Bharat Bhushan Babu, spokesman for India’s Home Affairs Ministry. When asked whether that applied to people fleeing violence in their native countries, he said, “This is applicable to everyone.”The Rohingya community is a Muslim minority that has faced repeated persecution and violence in its native Myanmar, which is predominantly Buddhist.Forcing Rohingya people to return to Myanmar could constitute refoulement, a crime under international law, E. Tendayi Achiume, a Unied Nations human rights expert, said in a statement.“The Indian Government has an international legal obligation to fully acknowledge the institutionalized discrimination, persecution, hate and gross human rights violations these people have faced in their country of origin and provide them the necessary protection,” the statement said.Achiume also raised concerns about their extended detention in India and India’s failure to give the men adequate legal counsel.An exodus of more than 700,000 Rohingya from Myanmar to Bangladesh in 2017 drew the world’s attention to Myanmar’s human rights abuses against its Muslim minority. The United Nations has called it a genocide. Myanmar’s government has repeatedly denied that charge, accusing Rohingya communities of setting their own villages ablaze to garner the world’s sympathy.An additional 40,000 Rohingya refugees are thought to be in India, although only 18,000 are registered with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Many of India’s Rohingya refugees came before the most recent wave of violence in 2017. A statement from UNHCR said that the seven men deported Thursday were not registered with the refugee agency.On Tuesday, India’s home minister said the government had asked states to start collecting Rohingya biometrics so they could be sent back to Myanmar.Under increasing international pressure to allow the Rohingya refugees to return, Myanmar’s government has issued publicity notices on social media purportedly showing a handful of Rohingya going back to their homes and receiving supplies from the government.According to officials who briefed The Washington Post on a recent media trip to Rakhine state, two families have been resettled. But experts have cast doubt about their authenticity, with news reports and locals in Rakhine state saying the repatriations were staged.The U.N. statement also said that conditions in Myanmar were not “conducive for safe, dignified and sustainable returns for Rohingya.”“These individuals should be allowed to make an informed decision about their return to Myanmar in the current conditions and/or access their right to seek safe asylum,” the statement said.Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, a senior police officer from Assam state, said the police were not considering the Rohingya’s ethnic or religious background when deporting them. “I’m not bothered if they are Rohingya or Muslim or Hindu or Christian. We’re not bothered by caste and creed. We are bothered about the law,” he said.The men are from Kyauk Daw township in central Rakhine. They were initially arrested and jailed at the Silchar central prison in Assam in 2012 charged with irregular entry, according to India’s Ministry of External Affairs.The ministry said in a statement that Myanmar’s government had identified the seven men as “residents” of Myanmar, and provided “Certificates of Identity to facilitate the travel of these individuals to their hometowns in Rakhine state.” The statement said that the men had asked to be repatriated in 2016 and that the ministry on Wednesday had confirmed “their willingness to be repatriated.”Full citizenship – and not “residency” or “certificates of identity” – has been one of the key demands of Rohingya activists seeking repatriation.Rohingya leaders say Myanmar’s refusal to acknowledge the Rohingya’s long history in the country is a key reason for the discrimination against them. Rohingya are often incorrectly termed illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and referred to as “Bengalis” – stripping them of their rights as equal citizens of Myanmar.Human rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan had earlier urged India’s Supreme Court to stop the deportations, or at least allow the United Nations to speak to the deportees to ensure they knew the risks of returning to Myanmar. On Thursday, Ranjan Gogoi, chief justice of India, said the court would not interfere with the deportation.Assam, where the men were arrested, has made huge efforts to “detect-delete-deport” illegal migrants in recent years. The state has a long border with Bangladesh and huge migration flows that many say threatens Assamese jobs and culture.In July, the state of Assam released a list of its citizens, but excluded 4 million people. Many, especially Muslims who were left off the list, fear it could lead to detentions and deportations.The Washington Post’s Shibani Mahtani in Hong Kong contributed to this report.(c) 2018, The Washington Post Related Itemslast_img read more