UN chief calls for Security Council to work with Myanmar to end ‘horrendous suffering’ of Rohingya refugees

UNHCR/Andrew Mconnell Rohingya refugees wait for a food distribution in Kutupalong camp, Cox’s Bazar Bangladesh.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

Despite the efforts made by the United Nations over the past year to help create safeguards for all communities in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, it is clear that conditions are still not suitable for the safe, voluntary, and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees to their home, Secretary-General António Guterres said on Tuesday.

The UN chief was briefing the Security Council on the situation in Myanmar, where 12 months ago a military operation in northern Rakhine state sparked an exodus of desperate Rohingya refugees that quickly became one of the world’s worst humanitarian and human rights crises.

Mr. Guterres’ remarks also follow the release of an independent UN investigation into alleged human rights abuses carried out against the mainly Muslim Rohingya and which called for the country’s military leaders to be investigated and prosecuted for genocide and war crimes.

Cate Blanchett, the Academy Award winning actor and Goodwill Ambassador for the Office of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), and Tegegnework Gettu, Associate Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) also addressed the briefing, which was chaired by Lord Ahmad, Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN for the United Kingdom, which currently holds the presidency of the Security Council.

Over 700,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar to ramshackle refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar area, Bangladesh after being forced from their homes by a military operation which UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein compared, at the time, to ethnic cleansing.

Mr. Guterres, recounting his experience of visiting the camps this past July, said that he had heard stories of horrendous persecution and suffering.

UN Photo/Evan Schneider
Secretary-General António Guterres addresses the Security Council meeting on the situation in Myanmar. The meeting commemorates the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the Rohingya crisis in 2017.

“One father broke down as he told me how his son was shot dead in front of him.  His mother was brutally murdered and his house burned to the ground. He took refuge in a mosque only to be discovered by soldiers who abused him and burned the Quran,” he said.

One distraught woman gestured to a mother cradling her young baby who was conceived as a result of rape and told me: “We need security in Myanmar and citizenship.  And we want justice for what our sisters, our daughters, our mothers have suffered.’”

Ms. Blanchett, who visited Bangladesh last year at the invitation of the UNHCR, said she had witnessed similar scenes, and “nothing could have prepared me for the extent and depth of suffering I saw… I have heard gut-wrenching accounts…of grave torture, of women brutally violated, people whose loved ones have been killed before their eyes.”

UN Photo/Manuel Elias
Cate Blanchett, Goodwill Ambassador for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), addresses the Security Council meeting on the situation in Myanmar.

“I am a mother, and I saw my children in the eyes of every refugee child I met. I saw myself in every parent. How can any mother endure seeing her child thrown into a fire?” she asked the Council.

The trigger for the military crackdown one year ago was a series of attacks on Myanmar security forces by insurgents that were immediately condemned by the Secretary-General. Mr. Guterres said that the disproportionate use of force against civilian populations and the gross human rights violations that followed, could never be justified.

Since then, despite his direct engagement with the Myanmar authorities, and the launch of several UN system initiatives on the ground, the Secretary General has expressed concern regarding the dramatic humanitarian and human rights situations, as well as the risks to regional peace and security of further degeneration.

This engagement includes the advancement of a policy of engagement and unified action to defuse tensions and build trust, and the appointment of Christine Schraner as Special Envoy on Myanmar, which has led to a process of broad consultations with the Government, military, civil society and women’s groups.

Mr. Guterres said that, despite the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by the Myanmar authorities and UN agencies in June, the country’s leaders have not made the investment in reconstruction, reconciliation and respect for human rights necessary for all communities to live improved and resilient lives in Rakhine state.

UNDP’s Mr. Gettu said the agency shares international concerns about the situation in Rakhine and the plight of the Rohingya, and he emphasised the need to address Rakhine’s significant development challenges and to lift restrictions on free movement and access to services.

The UNDP, UNHCR and other UN agencies have been implementing the MOU, and working in Rakhine to put a wide-ranging development and humanitarian assistance initiative in place with support from major donors. He underlined that addressing the needs of the refugees in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, is also of primary importance.

UN Photo/Evan Schneider
Tegegnework Gettu, Associate Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), briefs the Security Council meeting on the situation in Myanmar.

Mr. Guterres asked the Security Council to urge Myanmar’s leaders to ensure immediate, unimpeded and effective access for the Organization’s agencies and partners, and release journalists arrested for reporting on the human tragedy.

He added that there can be no excuse for delaying the search for dignified solutions that will allow people to return home, and benefit from freedom of movement, an end to discrimination and the re-establishment of the rule of law.

His call for action was amplified by Ms. Blanchett, who said that “the focus of all our efforts must be to provide much-needed support inside Bangladesh while working to ensure conditions in Myanmar are conducive to return.”

Mr. Guterres concluded with a call for accountability as an essential prerequisite for regional security and stability, and for the Security Council to give serious consideration to the report released on Monday by the UN-appointed Independent International Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar.

He added that effective, international cooperation will be “critical to ensuring that accountability mechanisms are credible, transparent, impartial, independent and comply with Myanmar’s obligations under international law.”

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

The Americans are preparing for the next financial crisis

Will ECB win against low inflation by not following Quantitave Easing?

Is Eurozone heading for disinflation?

Greece lost a month that cannot be found neither in “mini Summits” nor in Berlin

The European Sting live from the World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

What does the future of energy look like, how do we get there, and who will benefit?

A Sting Exclusive: “Delivering on the Environmental Dimension of the new Sustainable Development Agenda”, Ulf Björnholm underscores from UNEP Brussels

Claude Akpokavie, Senior ILO Adviser:“Engaging in policy debates and organizing workers, are two key challenges faced by unions in Export processing zones”

COP21 Breaking News_05 December: Carbon Price Needed for Climate Change Success

Turkey’s Erdogan provokes the US and the EU by serving jihadists and trading on refugees

Businesses succeed internationally

The new Kiev rulers ask $35 billion from the West

4 things President Trump could learn from Jimmy Carter

UN Human Rights Council resolution on youth and human rights: a step forward for youth rights

Cancer is a growing global threat and prevention is key, UN study shows

“China will strive to enhance the performance of economic growth”, President Xi highlights from the World Economic Forum 2017 in Davos

“16+1” Cooperation injects new vigor into China-Europe cooperation

EU Banks still get subsidies from impoverished citizens

EU to lead one more fight against climate change at G7 summit

MWC 2016 LIVE: Ford trumpets new in-vehicle system, “fundamentally rethinks” transportation

North Korea: ‘Time to talk human rights’, says UN expert

A Sting Exclusive: “Europe must be more ambitious in COP21 and lead on climate finance and sustainable development”, Green UK MEP Jean Lambert points out from Brussels

These are the cities where people work the longest hours

“The Belt and Road Initiative should be mutually beneficial for EU and China and every participating country”, Vice-President Papadimoulis of the European Parliament underscores from European Business Summit 2018

Refugee crisis update: EU still lacks solidarity as Hungary and Slovakia refuse to accept EU Court’s decision

Why salaries could finally be on the way up

Community Manager – 1289

The hostilities in south and eastern Ukraine resume; where could they lead?

Top UN political official updates Security Council on Iran nuclear deal

EU: Turkey to shelter Syrian refugees and turn other immigrants back in return of €3 billion

MEPs react to breaches of human rights in Moldova, Burundi and Somalia

UNICEF urges all countries to provide ‘Super Dads’ with paid leave

19th EU-China Summit: A historical advance in the Chino-European rapprochement

Commission’s action plan: financial world mandatory links to environmental targets

An FTA between EU-US to hurt South Korea

Court of Auditors: EU budget money is there to be spent not to create value

The New Year 2016 will not be benevolent to Europe

How we can work together in the fight against NCDs

EU Commission: Banking and energy conglomerates don’t threaten competition!

Trump questions US – Europe kinship, approaches Russia

More than nine in ten children exposed to deadly air pollution

EU-China relations under investigation?

More unemployment and lower wages to make European workers competitive?

Who is to pay the dearest price in a global slowdown?

Governments can fight corruption by joining the digital payment revolution

‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ clean-up project launches trial run: UN Environment

The Future of Retail: Changing shopping patterns will mean retailers need to invest in costly and complex solutions

Dark spots on EU humanitarian aid spending

Endocrine disruptors: A strategy for the future that protects EU citizens and the environment

Could robot leaders do better than our current politicians?

ECB to buy corporate bonds: Will government financing be the next step?

Cameron readies to support ‘yes’ for Britain in the EU

New York high school students are getting free water bottles to cut plastic waste

The quality of health education around the globe

EU Leaders’ meeting in Sofia: Completing a trusted Digital Single Market for the benefit of all

ECB to play down IMF’s alarms for deflation danger in the EU

Leveraging digital for high quality internships

“For my children Italy will be an innovation lab and not a museum”; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Scotland “shows the way” to separatist movements as Catalonia calls a vote on independence

Discussion at Europe House: Brexit & Food

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s