15-Member UNSC Body Witness Plight of Rohingya Refugees First-Hand in Bangladesh

Published April 30th, 2018 - 07:22 GMT
Rohingya refugees wait in line for food distribution (AFP/File Photo)
Rohingya refugees wait in line for food distribution (AFP/File Photo)

The returning of Rohingya refugees on a safe and voluntary basis is still a “dire and difficult” situation, said Gustavo Meza-Cuadro, Ambassador of Peru to the United Nations Security Council after visiting the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

But the delegation’s Russian representative promised that a “good solution” would be found that would be “acceptable for all.”

The 15-member UNSC body witnessed the plight of the refugees on Sunday. The delegation’s rare visit created new hope among the Bangladesh authority and experts about the repatriation of more than one million Rohingya refugees in the country.

The UNSC delegation, which is on a three-day visit to Bangladesh, traveled to the refugee camp in the Zero Point of Tombru border, where around 6,000 refugees have taken shelter since the recent exodus started on Aug. 25 last year.

During the visit, the delegation talked with many refugees. It was the first time the UNSC team had directly heard refugees tell of the horrible experiences of arson and rape that they experienced back in their home in Myanmar.

The Rohingyas held placards demanding their citizenship in Myanmar and justice while the delegation was visiting the camps.

“We don’t have any magic solution in the Security Council. Of course we will discuss the situation,” the Russian representative in the delegation told local media.

 

The UNSC has previously failed to impose sanctions on Myanmar because of the Russian and Chinese veto.

However, the Russian representative added that Russia is not ignoring this crisis. “We are not closing our eyes on this issue. That’s why we are here,” he said.

The Russian ambassador’s representative assured that a “good solution” to the issue would be found which would be “acceptable for all” after the delegation returned to the UNSC head office in New York.

The Chinese representative said: “We understand the concern. We understand the difficulties that the Bangladesh Government and its people are facing.”

Expecting the UNSC to play a more effective and concrete role in resolving the Rohingya crisis, Bangladesh State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said: “Bangladesh has always welcomed any initiative of the Security Council and the United Nations and the country will always continue its support in this regard. It’s Myanmar’s internal conflict, forced on to the shoulder of Bangladesh. The problem has come from there and the solution lies there.”

Professor Dr. Imtiaz Ahmed, an international affairs expert in Dhaka, termed the UNSC members’ visit to the Rohingya camps as a very rare initiative: “It seems that now there is a change in UNSC’s position compared to its stand six months back.”

The delegation comprises the permanent representative of the UK and deputy permanent representatives of the US, Russia, France, and China.

The rest are permanent representatives of the non-permanent member countries of UNSC which include Bolivia, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, and Sweden. Ivory Coast is also represented in the delegation by its deputy permanent representative at UNSC.

The UNSC delegation is scheduled to meet Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday morning and they will fly to Myanmar on the same day.

The team is also scheduled to have talks with Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday and to visit the Rakhine State on Tuesday.

 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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