DhakaTribune
Sunday December 17, 2017 12:14 PM

Rohingya crisis: 73 countries respond to Bangladesh’s call at UNHRC

Rohingya crisis: 73 countries respond to Bangladesh’s call at UNHRC
Rohingya refugee children carry supplies through Balukhali refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh on October 23, 2017 Reuters

China and India have refrained from taking a side, but Bangladesh is continuing diplomatic effort to get its powerful neighbours on board

The Bangladesh government has invoked the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to call a special session to discuss the human rights condition of Muslims and other minorities living in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

A notice recently sent to the UNHRC in this regard by Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia received the support of 33 of the 47 member states, and was also backed by 40 other states which are not UNHRC members.

Although China and India refrained from taking a side, Bangladesh is continuing diplomatic efforts to bring its powerful neighbours on board even after signing a bilateral agreement with Myanmar on the Rohingya repatriations.

A Bangladesh government official said they were trying to adopt a unanimous resolution regarding the special UNHRC session.

“All the subjects mentioned at UN’s Third Committee Resolution are also in the latest resolution of UNHRC. Some new issues have also been appended with it,” another official said.

In the Third Committee Resolution, Myanmar was asked to reconsider its 1982 Citizenship Act to provide the Rohingyas with full-fledged citizenship. The resolution had also asked the Myanmar government to bring those involved in the Rohingya persecution to book.

Asked which elements were added to this resolution, the second official said: “We want the UNHRC to be more involved with the issue and that is why we have made the special recommendation.”

For and against Bangladesh’s call

Among the 47 UNHRC member states, China has always been on the side of Myanmar. They had asked Bangladesh to be more ductile and resolved the issue bilaterally.

Referring to this, the government official said: “Our effort to have China change their position is still on.”

Regarding India’s stance, the official said: “We are also maintaining contact with India. We want the resolution to be unanimously adopted. Even if any nation chooses to go against it, we still believe the resolution will be accepted nevertheless receiving majority vote.”

More than 620,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh in the face of ethnic cleansing carried out by Myanmar military forces in Rakhine state since August 25.

Since then, the Bangladesh government has been making extensive diplomatic efforts to stop the atrocity and return the Rohingya refugees to their homeland.

The article was first published on Bangla Tribune

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