IRIN reporting wins 2017 UNCA award

We are delighted to announce that the United Nations Correspondents Association has recognised IRIN’s outstanding reporting on Asia, awarding a joint silver medal to former Asia Editor Jared Ferrie for the Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Prize for written media.

From the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, to the forgotten conflict in the Philippines, to the deepening migration crisis in Afghanistan, Jared Ferrie’s excellent reporting from the region is well deserving of recognition - recently earning an honourable mention from the Society of Publishers in Asia.

His award-winning entries include:

Myanmar says Rohingya rape and abuse allegations “made-up”, despite mounting evidence

In the face of outright denials by Myanmar’s government, Jared Ferrie uncovered strong evidence that the military was committing atrocities against the country’s persecuted ethnic Rohingya Muslim community. His story juxtaposes the experiences of survivors against government statements, providing a historical record of both the atrocities and the attempts to cover them up.

As Myanmar refused to allow journalists near the police border posts where the accounts were emerging, Ferrie travelled to neighbouring Bangladesh. His vital reporting there revealed that the number of people who fled across the border was far higher than previously reported, and the facts he uncovered directly challenged the government’s narrative. A spokeswoman for Myanmar’s leader, Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, insisted that military operations had been conducted “with very much restraint”. And allegations of rape and ethnic cleansing? “Completely false.” With the evidence presented in Ferrie's story, such denials became impossible to believe.

EXCLUSIVE: UN rights envoy urges inquiry into abuses of Rohingya in Myanmar

In an exclusive interview, Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, told Jared Ferrie her plan to push member states to sponsor a resolution for a commission of inquiry into military abuses of Myanmar’s minority Rohingya Muslims.

“I never said in the past to a reporter what I plan to put in my report,” she said. “This time I am making this point: I will certainly be pushing for an inquiry, definitely, on the Rohingya situation.”

With Myanmar unwilling or unable to carry out a credible investigation, pressure was mounting for a UN-backed inquiry. Jared Ferrie’s analysis outlined the challenges to forming such an inquiry. It would require that a Human Rights Council member put forward a resolution, and it would need cooperation from the Myanmar government, which is civilian-led but has no control over the military. Indeed, the Council in the end choose to form a “fact finding mission”, which carries less weight than a commission of inquiry. To date, Myanmar has refused to allow members of the mission access to the country.

For more on the denied oppression of Myanmar’s Rohingya people, please see our in-depth coverage here.

(TOP PHOTO: A Rohingya family shelter in the village of Hazi Para, Bangladesh, after fleeing Myanmar. Credit: Jared Ferrie/IRIN)