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Dhaka Tribune

Rights groups: Nepal should raise Rohingya issue with Suu Kyi

Her two-day visit to Nepal commences Thursday

Update : 29 Nov 2018, 01:51 PM

As Myanmar State Counsellor and Minister for Foreign Affairs Aung San Suu Kyi commences her two-day Nepal visit on Thursday, human rights agencies say Nepal’s government should draw her attention to ensuring the safe return of the Rohingyas—and encourage her to fairly investigate alleged abuses.

Around 700,000 Rohingyas have taken refuge in Bangladesh—fleeing a brutal military crackdown that began in August 2017. 

UN reports say that during the campaign, Myanmar’s military force burned Rohingya houses in Rakhine State, as well as carried out killings and gang rapes, reports the Kathmandu Post.  

Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace prize winner, holds a crucial portfolio in the current government—which has been accused of colluding with the military in repressing the Rohingya community. 

Her visit comes at a time when the repatriation process has been halted due to a the lack of assurances, by Myanmar’s government, that the Rohingyas will have a safe return.

Mohna Ansari, spokesperson for the National Human Rights Commission, said the Nepali authorities should talk to Suu Kyi about the safe return of the displaced people and a fair investigation of the matter.

“The geo-political factors should not affect the human rights issue. The Nepal government must present its clear position on the matter,” Ansari said. 

Suu Kyi, who is in Kathmandu to attend the " Asia Pacific Summit 2018-Nepal–" held in the capital from November 30 to December 3 – is scheduled to meet President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, and Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali—among other leaders.

Ansari said it is important that Nepal raise the issue of human rights violations as it is currently a member of the UN Human Rights Council. Nepal was elected as a member of the council, for the first time, in October last year. 

Though a majority of Rohingyas are taking refuge in Bangladesh, hundreds have entered Nepal via India. There are around 400 such refugees in Kathmandu’s Kapan area. Nirajan Thapaliya, director at Amnesty International, said Nepali authorities should take up the issue with Suu Kyi.

“Nepal should exert pressure on the Myanmar government, through international collaboration, for the safe return of the oppressed,” he said. Thapaliya said Suu Kyi colluded with the military crackdown and is reluctant in ensuring justice to the victims.

Amnesty International, on November 12, withdrew its highest honour, the Ambassador of Conscience Award, from Suu Kyi citing her “apparent indifference” to atrocities committed against the Rohingya—and her increasing intolerance of freedom of speech.

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