Guterres for strong int’l pressure on Myanmar to take back Rohingyas
Published : 02 Jul 2018, 23:35:54
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres today called upon the international community to put strong pressure unitedly on Myanmar so that the displaced Rohingyas can go back to their homeland safely.
“We need accountable solution creating the conditions for the people (Rohingyas) to be able to have a normal life in their own country (Myanmar), ” he told reporters at a joint press conference with the World Bank group President Jim Yong Kim at a city hotel after coming from Cox’s Bazaar after visiting the Rohingyas camps there.
Guterres said the UN lays emphasis on ensuring citizenship and other basic rights of Rohingyas in Myanmar. “There is clear will within the Security Council to ask Myanmar to create the conditions for safe return of Rohingyas to their own homes in Myanmar,” he added.
Replying to a query, the UN Secretary General said there was no such agreement between the UN and Myanmar ignoring the Myanmar citizenship issue of Rohingyas. “There is no agreement between the UN and Myanmar that these people should not be called Rohingyas.” he clarified.
Earlier in Cox’s Bazar at another press conference, the secretary general appealed to the international community to step up support.
“It is necessary to say to the international community that the solidarity expressed until now has not been translated into sufficient support for the Rohingya people from Myanmar in Bangladesh,” he said.
He called “unimaginable” accounts of atrocities he heard during the visit to the crammed Rohingya camps where tens of thousands of persecuted ethnic minority Muslims took refuge fleeing their home in Myanmar.
“In Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, I’ve just heard unimaginable accounts of killing and rape from Rohingya refugees who recently fled Myanmar,” he said in a tweet after visiting sprawling refugee camps along with World Bank president Jim Yong Kim.
Earlier, just ahead of starting the tour the UN chief commented “the Rohingyas are one of the most discriminated against and vulnerable communities on Earth . . . They want justice and a safe return home.”
Guterres described the situation as “a humanitarian and human rights nightmare” and said “They want justice and a safe return home” and he called his visit a “mission of solidarity with Rohingyas refugees and the communities supporting them”.
“The compassion & generosity of the Bangladeshi people shows the best of humanity and saved many thousands of lives,” he said.
Bangladesh now shelters over a million Rohingyas while the latest exodus began as the military crackdown began on August 25 last year driving out over 700,000 of them in subsequent months.
The Rohingya Muslims crossed the border fleeing their home in Buddhist dominated western Rakhine state of Myanmar to escape the assaults by the country’s security forces, who were accused of rape, killing, torture and arson.
According to Doctors Without Borders at least 9,400 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine since the Myanmar army launched the crackdown which the UN described as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing” and global rights group called “genocide”.
The exodus sparked a massive global uproar but the UN chief’s visit came as Bangladesh pushes for more support for the huge Rohingya refugees whose camps are at risk of being washed away in the monsoon season. Guterres endorsed the concern saying “the safety of the Rohingya refugees during this monsoon season is priority one”.
“As many as 200,000 (of them) need to be relocated . . . We cannot allow the monsoons to wash away the hopes of the Rohingya refugees I met today in Bangladesh,” he added.
Bangladesh and Myanmar earlier this year reached an agreement for safe and dignified return of Rohingyas but Dhaka accused the neighbor of taking little step to implement the pact.
The United Nations also struck an outline deal with Myanmar two months ago for return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas safely and by choice while media reports suggested the agreement provided no explicit guarantees of their citizenship or freedom of movement in Myanmar.
The International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) president, who visited the camps yesterday, however, said today conditions Rakhine state were not ready yet for the repatriation based based on what he saw during his visit.
“I think there is still a lot of work to do till large scale repatriation is a realistic possibility. . . Much more has to happen in terms of reception structure, preparations, also preparation of the communities to receive again those who came (to Bangladesh) from Myanmar,” Maurer said.
The Red Cross chief’s Bangladesh tour followed his visit to Myanmar, where he said he saw abandoned villages and destroyed houses.
A UN Security Council delegation earlier in May visited Bangladesh and Rakhine state and met Rohingyas who gave detailed accounts of killings, rape and villages torched at the hands of Myanmar’s military though Myanmar has vehemently denied allegations.-BSS