Who are the Rohingya?
The UN estimates that 123,600 Rohingya — a stateless, ethnic Muslim minority who largely inhabit Myanmar’s western Rakhine state — have fled escalating violence http://cnn.it/2w2o9tN
“We will face genocide and you will all be a witness to it.”
A letter from a Rohingya of Rakhine State of Burma.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said at least 100,000 Rohingya people will be relocated to Bhasan Char from the refugee camp in Teknaf.
She told Natalia Kanem, an under secretary-general of the United Nations and executive director of the UN Population Fund or UNFPA, about the move on Wednesday.
Natalia met her at the Ganabhaban in the morning.
Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim said Hasina stated the humanitarian grounds for giving shelter to Rohingya Muslims and told Natalia about the contribution of local residents.
She spoke about the problems the rainy season poses and said as long as the Myanmar government does not take them back, they will be relocated to Bhasan Char where a temporary accommodation has been made for them.
Kanem appreciated Hasina administration’s efforts to tackle the Rohingya refugee crisis, Karim said. She pledged to continue UNFPA cooperation to manage the refugees.
Around 700,000 Rohingyas crossed the border into Bangladesh after the Myanmar Army launched an ethnic cleansing of the Rohingyas on Aug 25 last year following insurgent attacks on security forces in Rakhine State.
Bangladesh already sheltered 400,000 refugees who fled decades of violent persecution in Myanmar.The two countries formed a joint panel to repatriate the recently arrived Rohingyas following an agreement.
May 22, 2018
A delegation from the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) made a rare visit to the world’s largest refugee camp at Kutupalong in southeastern Bangladesh in May. It also inspected Rohingya villages in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, from where this beleaguered Muslim community fled to escape brutal persecution by the military and hard-line local Buddhists.
The harrowing tales of violence that have forced more than 770,000 Rohingya into Bangladesh since 2016 visibly moved the visitors. In Myanmar, the UNSC team met with Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and military chief Min Aung Hlaing.
The delegates are supposed to report to U.N. headquarters in New York and take action, although some said there was “no magic solution” to the crisis. “It is not the Security Council’s fault that there is a crisis,” observed Karen Pierce, the U.K.’s permanent representative to the UN.
However, general expectations of the influential agency are higher. The world body responsible for global peace and security cannot wrap up its duty simply by visiting the world’s most persecuted ethnic minority. It must take appropriate action to protect their human rights and should refer the perpetrators of these atrocities in Rakhine to the International Criminal Court as necessary.
UNSC faces difficult dilemma
During the UNSC press conference in Kutupalong on April 29, one reporter asked how many of the delegates would call the refugees “Rohingya.” Everybody raised their hand except for one — the Chinese representative to the U.N. This highlights a potential sticking point in the Security Council where China has the power to veto and can block any decision.
The Security Council held two sittings to discuss the Rohingya crisis with Myanmar last year. In the September meeting, Myanmar promised to stem the exodus of refugees while in December it informed the council they were ready to welcome them back with open arms anytime. Myanmar has failed to deliver on both of these promises.
More than 100,000 more Rohingya crossed the border into Bangladesh after Myanmar signed a repatriation deal with its neighbor on Nov. 23. Yet not a single Rohingya has been repatriated since then.
Moreover, Myanmar has not allowed a U.N. fact-finding mission or U.N. Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee to visit Rakhine State either before or since the Rohingya crisis began to unfold in a major way. In addition to this, Myanmar authorities have not provided unfettered access to the aid agencies, independent journalists or rights activists.
And there has also been no convincing rebuttal of claims by rights groups that Rohingya villages have been razed in a bid to destroy any evidence of the atrocities that occurred there, despite the surfacing of photos showing troops setting up what look like military outposts on top of them.
Amid a barrage of global criticism, Myanmar rushed to sign a bilateral repatriation deal with Bangladesh in last November. The U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) tried to negotiate a tripartite deal involving Bangladesh and Myanmar for the safe, voluntary and dignified repatriation of the Rohingya, but Myanmar refused to agree to it.
Bangladesh signed the deal reportedly under pressure from China and India, which is not surprising given the magnitude of political and economic influence the nation’s two biggest neighbors wield over it. Later, Bangladesh signed a deal with the UNHCR. Myanmar has yet to do the same.
All of this shows how Myanmar is playing tricks with the U.N. Due to objections from China and Russia, the Security Council has failed to take any concrete measures to stop the systematic human rights abuses against the Rohingya for decades. Read more ›
BAFTA has recognised Sky News for filming the first independent evidence of the Rohingya crisis from Myanmar’s Rakhine State.