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Dhaka wants UNSC to deliver on Rohingya issue

  • Published at 10:40 pm July 21st, 2018
Rohingya refugees stretch their hands to receive aid distributed by local organisations at Balukhali makeshift refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, September 14, 2017 Reuters

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali will visit Myanmar on August 8 to assess whether conditions in place for safe return of the Rohingyas

Bangladesh wants the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to deliver on the Rohingya issue in order to have a sustainable solution to the crisis.

The UNSC, which is responsible for maintaining international peace, sits on Monday.

Diplomatic sources say the Myanmar government has not yet taken any visible steps for the safe and sustainable return of Rohingyas despite repeated calls from the international community, reports the UNB.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam said: "The world is failing. After the visit of its representatives, I hope the UNSC has now much better understanding about the situation. I just hope the UNSC will deliver on the matter as per our expectations." 

He laid emphasis on putting sustained pressure on Myanmar so that the authorities of the country take required steps to find a sustainable solution at the earliest.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who recently visited the refugee camps in Cox's Bazar, said the Rohingya are victims of ethnic cleansing and the world has failed them.

Talking to UNB, a diplomatic source said the UNSC will discuss Myanmar issues during the second half of Monday and the Rohingya issue will feature prominently in the discussion.

Bangladesh Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Masud Bin Momen is likely to get an opportunity to highlight Bangladesh's position at the meeting.

Meanwhile, United Nations human rights experts have concluded a five-day visit to Bangladesh. During the visit, they met the newly arrived Rohingya refugees from Rakhine State, in the final weeks before publishing their comprehensive written report.

This visit of the Human Rights Council-mandated Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar to Bangladesh provided an opportunity for its experts and their team of investigators to hear fresh accounts of abuse and violence committed against the Rohingya in Myanmar, including those who recently arrived in Bangladesh.

This is the second visit by the experts themselves, supplementing the investigations undertaken by their staff continuously since September 2017.

"The trip we undertook (from July 16 to 19) is our final field mission under our mandate," remarked Marzuki Darusman, former Indonesian attorney general and chairperson of the Fact-Finding Mission.

Over 700,000 of these have been forced to settle in the camps following the “clearance operations” of the Myanmar military that commenced on 25 August 2017.

The Fact-Finding Mission is scheduled to present its findings to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on September 18.

It has previously presented three oral updates to the 47-member Human Rights Council - in September and December 2017, and March 2018.

United Nations Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener also conducted her first official visit to Bangladesh from July 14 to 16.

During her visit, she said the ongoing crisis requires a political solution that addresses the underlying issues.

In all the discussions during the visit, the Special Envoy also underlined the importance of accountability for the crimes committed, officials said.

Bangladesh and the internal bodies want to see implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Bangladesh and Myanmar signed on November 23, 2017 and the MoU among the government of Myanmar, UNHCR and UNDP signed on June 6 this year for the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of Rohingyas.

Officials said Bangladesh maintains bilateral discussions with Myanmar apart from its efforts engaging the international community.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali will visit Myanmar on August 8 to see conditions for safe return of the Rohingyas, including their safety and livelihood facilities, an official told UNB.

During his visit, the UN chief they need the international community to unite and very strongly put pressure on Myanmar authorities to recognize these needs, including addressing their citizenship issue.

"We need both accountability and political solution creating the conditions for the people to be able to have a normal life in their own country," he told a joint press conference while responding to a question from UNB.