• Wednesday, Jan 22, 2020
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Bangladesh says Myanmar isn't tackling Rohingya concerns

  • Published at 01:48 pm August 8th, 2018
File photo of a Rohingya camp in Cox's BazarSyed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Myanmar has also made no demonstrable effort to address the concerns of the Rohingyas and the international community, said Bangladesh's UN Ambassador in a letter to the UN Security Council 

Bangladesh is urging the UN Security Council to take actions regarding the safe return of Rohingyas to Myanmar, as Myanmar is failing to tackle the concerns of over 1 million Rohingya Muslims who fled the country.

In a letter circulated Tuesday to the council, Bangladesh's UN Ambassador Masud Bin Momen said that, even though his government continues to engage with Myanmar "in good faith" about the repatriation of the Rohingyas, Bangladesh regrets that the necessary conditions for safe and sustainable return do not exist in Myanmar.

Myanmar has also made no demonstrable effort to address the concerns of the Rohingyas and the international community, Momen said in his letter, reports UNB. 

The predominantly Buddhist Myanmar denies the Rohingya community citizenship and basic rights, as they are looked upon as Bangladeshi immigrants, even though majority of their families had settled in Myanmar generations ago. 

The unfavourable conditions led more than 200,000 to flee Myanmar between 2012 and 2015.

The latest influx of Rohingyas in Bangladesh took place on August 25 last year when Myanmar’s military cracked down on their community after being attacked by Rohingya insurgents. 

The move was accused of widespread human rights violations, including rape, murder, torture, and burning of Rohingya homes. Thousands are believed to have died, while 700,000 fled to Bangladesh.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, the UN human rights chief, insisted the possibility of genocide against Rohingya was real and the issue should be referred to the International Criminal Court.

The Bangladeshi UN ambassador urged the Security Council to adopt a resolution and take concerted and determined action to address the Rohingya crisis so the refugees in Bangladesh can return to Myanmar.

He also accused Myanmar of trying to play down the catastrophic scale of the crisis, and its grave impact on Bangladesh, by saying that the number of those who fled the country cannot be higher than half a million.

Momen also said Myanmar's claim that Bangladesh is violating a 1998 demarcation treaty by building bunkers within 150 feet of the border is "false and baseless". 

The closest bunker is 654ft from the border line, he said. 

The Security Council is planning to observe the one-year anniversary of the violent crackdown on the Rohingya at an open meeting on August 28. It will be addressed by Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who termed the Rohingya crisis as "ethnic cleansing".

This month's council president British Ambassador Karen Pierce said the UK wants the meeting to have a focus on gaining "unconditional access" to Myanmar for the UN refugee and development agencies, so they can work with Myanmar and Bangladesh governments in order to get the refugees back home safe.

Bangladesh wants the council to ensure those conditions in Myanmar so the Rohingyas can return, the Bangladeshi UN ambassador said. 

He called the framework for cooperation between the UN and the Myanmar government to be a "step in the right direction".

However, there is also a need for transparency and a demonstration of concrete deliverables so Rohingyas can gain the required trust and confidence that, upon returning to their homes in Rakhine State, they will not be subject to further discrimination and violence, Momen said. 

He also emphasized upon the guarantee of the safety of the Rohingyas still in Rakhine, through creation of UN administered "safe zones".

Momen said Bangladesh would welcome any assistance from the UN in housing Rohingya refugees in shelters that can withstand the current monsoon rains, to protect victims of grave human rights abuses including sexual violence from traffickers and exploitation, and to provide basic education and skills.