UN Envoys Tell Myanmar Cabinet to Prepare for Return of Rohingya Muslims from Bangladesh

Published May 2nd, 2018 - 05:00 GMT
Rohingya refugees gather in the "no man's land" behind the Myanmar border lined with barb wire fences just inside Bangladesh (AFP/File Photo)
Rohingya refugees gather in the "no man's land" behind the Myanmar border lined with barb wire fences just inside Bangladesh (AFP/File Photo)

Top U.N. envoys have warned Tuesday that the Myanmar government needed to better prepare for the return from Bangladesh of Rohingya Muslims who have fled due to human rights abuses perpetrated by security forces.

A delegation of diplomats from the U.N. Security Council arrived in Sittwe, the capital of the volatile western Rakhine state, on Tuesday morning before heading to the conflict-torn Maungdaw area in the north of the Rakhine state.

“The Myanmar government took many steps to implement the [repatriation] agreement, but I think there is much that needs to be done for a safe, voluntary and dignified return,” U.N. delegation leader Gustavo Adolfo Meza-Cuadra Velasquez told journalists on Tuesday.

The team had met government officials and Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh before the visit to Myanmar.

“There are conditions and restrictions that refugees don’t accept and I think that the U.N. also should be involved,” he said.

“Some U.N. agencies like UNHCR [ U.N. Refugee Agency] and UNDP [ United Nations Development Programme], we know that there are processes to sign a MOU between them and the Myanmar government,” he said. “We want to see that happening soon.”

UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations Karen Pierce said the U.N. Security Council was ready to assist the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh in solving the refugee crisis.

“We would like to assist government of Bangladesh [...] for their needs and mitigate the effects of the flood during monsoon [season],” she said.


She said the Security Council wanted to assist the Myanmar government in reaching agreements with U.N. agencies quickly for an unconditional return of the refugees in security and safety.

On Monday, the envoys met senior government officials including State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and military chief Min Aung Hlaing.

The Rohingya, described by the U.N. as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, some 750,000 refugees, mostly children and women, fled Myanmar when Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to the U.N.

At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, according to Doctors Without Borders.

In a report published on Dec. 12, the global humanitarian organization said the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.


This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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