Rohingya seek United Nations protection as Security Council diplomats visit camps

Hugh Fox
April 30, 2018

Myanmar has come under worldwide scrutiny since a military campaign launched in August drove more than 700,000 Rohingya from their homes in northern Rakhine state and into crowded camps in Bangladesh.

Myanmar has denied the widespread accounts of violence against the persecuted Rohingya Muslim community in Rakhine.

"I think, we've witnessed the magnitude of the refugee crisis and very tragic situation of some of the families", said the delegation leader.

Further, the delegates were debriefed by the local administration of Border Guard Bangladesh about the on-going Bangladesh crises.

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Alam said the team will meet some of the refugees today, including victims of rape and torture. "The threat of raising this issue in the Security Council shouldn't be used as a leverage for the Myanmar government to cooperate".

"It shows the scale of the challenge as we try as a Security Council to find some way through that enables these poor people to go home", said British UN Ambassador Karen Pierce, who was approached by several crying women and girls. "This is very complicated issue".

Bangladesh and Myanmar in November signed an agreement for the repatriation of the Rohingya Muslims.

Extended conversation with Rohingya activist Tun Khin, who visited the world's most densely populated refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, earlier this month. He said his government would extent every possible assistance to the UNSC to resolve the conflict.

Myanmar has said the military operation in Rakhine is aimed at rooting out extremists.

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Hundreds of thousands of refugees are living in temporary shelters made of bamboo and tarpaulins at Kutupalong, many on steep hills and in low-lying areas likely to be flooded.

The state minister said the UNSC team agreed on broader issues, including the fact that the solution lies in Myanmar as problem is in Myanmar, but there has been no consensus yet on imposing sanction on Myanmar or stronger action against Myanmar. They carried placards, some of which read "We want justice".

The U.N. refugee agency and Bangladesh recently finalized a memorandum of understanding that said the repatriation process must be "safe, voluntary and line with global standards".

However, while the Security Council is united on travelling to the region, diplomats said they expect Myanmar ally China and Russian Federation - both veto-wielding powers on the council - to resist any push for stronger council action, such as sanctions or a referral of the situation to the International Criminal Court.

Today's visit was planned by Myanmar's government to begin repairing relations with the worldwide community and will be used as an opportunity to consider taking further action.

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