UN Security Council pledges to help Rohingya return
01 May, 2018, 12:43 | Author: Otis Hoffman
Cox's Bazar - A UN Security Council delegation arrived in Bangladesh on Saturday to get a firsthand look at the plight of some 700 000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled Myanmar to escape military-led violence.
Myanmar has denied all allegations of genocide and said that the violence was a legitimate response to attacks on police and military by Rohingya insurgents. The military has been accused of massive human rights violations - including rape, killing, torture and the burning of Rohingya homes - that United Nations officials have calledethnic cleansing.
The UN delegation will speak to and conduct face-to-face interviews with the refugees in Bangladesh before they head to Myanmar to visit Rakhine, the state where the Rohingya lived before violence intensified against them.
Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed in December to begin repatriating the refugees in January, but there were concerns among aid workers and Rohingya that they would be forced to return and face unsafe conditions in Myanmar.
Security Council envoys visited Hasina in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, before travelling to Myanmar for meetings with its government leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and military Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing later on Monday.
The visiting United Nations officials are: Claudia Angela Banz of Switzerland, Nesrin Said Amin Hannoun of Jordan, Ahmed Mohamed Abdel Wahab RHB Feshawl of Egypt, Nabi ShafikAwad of the USA, Miranda Camillelucy Moses of Trinidad and Tobago, Igro Anson Gill of Barbados, Jung Hawan Lee of the USA, David Michael Kinna of the UK, Luis Amadeo Solari Antonia of Peru, and Kuwait counsellor S SS Alfassam Talal.
However, deputy Russian ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy, whose country has supported Myanmar, warned that the council did not have a "magic stick" to resolve what is now one of the world's worst refugee crises.
"The worldwide community should keep up pressure on the Myanmar government in this regard", she said.
They will seek to push the Myanmar government to implement those requests, diplomats said.
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Bangladesh wants them to act "decisively and immediately" to end the sufferings of the Rohingyas.
"We are not Bengali, we are Rohingya".
State minister for foreign affairs M Shahriar Alam accompanied the UNSC delegation during the visit.
"I will tell them my stories".
Myanmar has said the military operation in Rakhine was to root out extremists and has rejected almost all allegations that its security forces committed atrocities.
Bangladesh's acting foreign secretary, M. Khurshed Alam, said the delegation's visit is "very significant", with worldwide pressure on Myanmar continuing to mount to ensure the safe and voluntary return of the refugees, who are seeking protection from the United Nations.
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has asked it to rule on whether it has jurisdiction over the deportations of Rohingya to Bangladesh, a possible crime against humanity.
The Security Council has been urging Buddhist-majority Myanmar to allow the refugees to return home safely and to work on ending the decades of discrimination against the Muslim minority.
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