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The moment of truth

  • Published at 01:22 pm April 29th, 2018
  • Last updated at 05:06 am April 30th, 2018
The moment of truth

What the United Nations Security Council does next may very well define its effectiveness as an organization that was formed to uphold international peace and security.

Indeed, this is the moment of truth.

Will the UNSC finally see the facts on the ground and take decisive action to stop the systematic killing and persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar, or will it choose the path of denial and turn its back on what may well be the worst humanitarian crisis of our time?

At long last, a UNSC delegation, led by UNSC President Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, has arrived in Cox’s Bazar to see first-hand the scale and extent of the Rohingya crisis on both sides of the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

Of course, it should not have taken this long.

Since last August, some 700,000 Rohingya refugees have fled across the border to Bangladesh -- not by choice, but out of desperation to save their lives -- and Bangladesh, already under tremendous resource constraints, let them in, and provided them with shelter and aid.

Bangladesh did so not because we had the means to fix the crisis, and not to score political points, but simply because as fellow human beings, it was the right thing to do.

But now it is the world’s turn. More specifically it is the turn of the UNSC, the most powerful body for global security there is.

Will the UNSC do the right thing?

The facts are all there for them to see. Almost all fleeing Rohingya know someone who was killed by the Myanmar army, and many of them were brutalized or raped themselves.

Mass graves have been discovered in Rakhine state, and there is even video footage of unspeakable atrocities being committed against the Rohingya population -- a community which Myanmar does not recognize as rightful citizens.

It is our earnest hope that the UNSC’s visit will be followed up by concrete action and not just words -- because, if not, the organization may lose its moral high ground, and the killing of innocent women, men, and children will continue in Myanmar.

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