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

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

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

Cameron’s “No Brexit” campaign wins top business support as Tory front breaks

The European Commission and EU consumer authorities publish final assessment of dialogue with Volkswagen

Germany takes cover from Trump in Eurozone and decides to pay for it

Yemen ceasefire deal: ‘Potential’ now to restore humanitarian lifeline to millions

Blockchain could boost global trade by $1 trillion

In this Tokyo cafe, the waiters are robots operated remotely by people with disabilities

Palm Oil: With Malaysia cracking down on production, what’s the alternative?

What we take for granted: The EU is not perfect

Russia won’t let Ukraine drift westwards in one piece

Last-chance Commission: Why Juncker promised investments of €300 billion?

National parks transformed conservation. Now we need to do the same for the ocean

The Chinese solar panels suddenly became too cheap for Europe

What UK and EU risk if Brexit “wins” these elections

European Semester 2018 Spring Package: Commission issues recommendations for Member States to achieve sustainable, inclusive and long-term growth

Can big events really go plastic-free? A water capsule made from seaweed may be the answer

‘World’s deadliest sea crossing’ claimed six lives a day in 2018: UN refugee agency

Brexit Preparedness: European Commission adopts final set of “no-deal” contingency measures for Erasmus+ students, social security coordination rules and the EU budget

Costa Rica is one of the world’s happiest countries. Here’s what it does differently

A renewed agenda for Research and Innovation: Europe’s chance to shape the future

Fragile countries risk being ‘stuck in a cycle of conflict and climate disaster,’ Security Council told

European Young Innovators Forum @ European Business Summit 2014: Europe for StartUps, vision 2020

Alarm over violent attacks on lawmakers, opposition in Malawi, ahead of elections

Senior UN children’s advocate says they ‘should never be targeted by violence’

Consultant in Forensic Technology – 1969

10 cities are predicted to gain megacity status by 2030

Western Balkans: European Parliament takes stock of 2018 progress

EU decides “in absentia” of civil society

G20 LIVE: G20 Antalya Summit in Numbers, 15-16 November 2015

When will Eurozone’s unemployment rate stop being Europe’s worst nightmare?

US-China trade war: Washington now wants control of the renminbi-yuan

Towards a seamless internal EU market for industrial goods

Gender Equality and medicine in the 21st Century: we want the fair share

ECB: Growth measures even before the German elections

Car bomb attack on National Police Academy in Colombia, ‘strongly condemned’ by UN

‘We will not give up on looking for peace for South Sudan’: UN deputy chief

This is how travel hotspots are fighting back against overtourism

Will Merkel ever steer the EU migration Titanic and restore her power in Germany?

UN rights chief calls for release of hundreds abducted and abused in South Sudan

We can end TB right now. Here’s how

Landmine casualties high for third consecutive year despite record funding, latest monitor reports

‘Two pack’ austerity package in force but with less vigor

Cameron postpones speech in Holland

Further reforms will promote a more inclusive and resilient Indonesian economy

Mass-graves found of at least 535 killed during ‘organized and planned’ inter-communal attacks in western DR Congo

European Junior Enterprise Network – Ready to take the Step Into the Future?

Draghi proposes timeframe for full Banking Union in five years

Eurozone’s credibility rock solid

The historic accomplishment of a seamless EU patent and intellectual property space

Brexit: Britain and the Continent fighting the battle of Waterloo again

Youth unemployment: No light at the end of the tunnel

Nearly two-thirds of children lack access to welfare safety net, risking ‘vicious cycle of poverty’

Somalia: UN urges steps to ensure future elections not ‘marred’ by rights abuses seen in recent polls

UK Labour Party leader Corbyn readies to change Brexit political backdrop

More than just a phone: mobile’s impact on sustainable development

UN Security Council hails ‘courage’ of Afghan voters

GSMA announces speakers for Mobile 360 Series-West Africa

ECB’s billions fortify south Eurozone except Greece; everybody rushes to invest in euro area bonds zeroing their yields

‘Chance for peace’ in South Sudan finally within reach, declares UN Peacekeeping chief

Parliament cuts own spending to facilitate agreement on EU budget

Teamgum @ TheNextWeb 2014

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