9 April 2020

UN Security Council urges Myanmar to facilitate safe return of Rohingya

KONFRONTASI - The United Nations Security Council has called on Myanmar to create the right conditions for the safe return of tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslim refugees to their home country from neighboring Bangladesh.

Following a closed-door meeting on Monday, the Council released a statement calling on the Myanmarese government to facilitate more social and economic development aid for the return of the Muslim refugees.

Almost one million Rohingya Muslim refugees have fled state-sponsored violence in Myanmar and taken refuge in Bangladesh.

They live in refugee shelters in the southeast Bangladeshi region of Cox’s Bazar, facing a triple threat of extreme weather, funding shortages, and uncertainty about their future, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The fifteen members of the Council “stressed the need to step up efforts, including through providing assistance to the social and economic development, in order to create conditions conducive to the safe, voluntary and dignified return of Rohingya refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes in [Myanmar’s] Rakhine state.”

Several members called for the body to impose sanctions on Myanmar’s government over the Rohingya crisis.

The minority Muslims, who had been originally based in Rakhine, were subjected to a campaign of killings, rape, and arson attacks by the military and Buddhist mobs in what the UN has described as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing” before they fled to Bangladesh.

Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's de factor leader who is also a Nobel Peace laureate, has come under intense criticism across the globe for having refused to hold the perpetrators to account.

The new UN special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, has said the Rohingya refugees “have to come back voluntarily, safe, in dignity, and in a sustainable manner.”

Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi (R) meets with new UN Envoy Christine Schraner Burgener (L) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, June 13, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Myanmar has struck an agreement with Bangladesh to have the Rohingya refugees returned.

But it has leveled their former communities in Rakhine, replacing Rohingya houses and villages with hastily-built settlements now housing Buddhists shuttled from elsewhere in the country.

The Rohingya refugees fear for their lives as well, and the agreement to return them has stalled.

The Council called for “the importance of undertaking transparent and independent investigations in allegations of human rights abuses and violations.”

But such calls have not been heeded in the past.[ptv]

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