Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

United States urges UNSC to hold Myanmar's military accountable for ethnic cleansing

United States urges UNSC to hold Myanmar's military accountable for ethnic cleansing United States urges UNSC to hold Myanmar's military accountable for ethnic cleansing
Melinda Barton | 16 February, 2018, 06:56

As for the third point, which is voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of refugees and internally displaced people to their places of origin or choice, Mr. Jenca said the Government has taken some high-level steps to advance this process, including the convening of an Advisory Board, whose recommendations include the inclusion of the United Nations at an early stage, soonest full humanitarian access, wider media access, and the formation of an independent fact-finding commission. They have long faced discrimination and persecution with many Buddhists in Myanmar calling them "Bengalis" and saying they migrated illegally from Bangladesh, even though they have lived in the country for generations.

The recent spasm of violence began when Rohingya insurgents staged a series of attacks August 25.

The United States on Tuesday described Myanmar denials of ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims as "preposterous" as it called on the U.N. Security Council to hold the military accountable and pressure leader Aung San Suu Kyi "to acknowledge these horrific acts that are taking place in her country".

He said construction of structures to support the return of refugees is important — "but should not be confused with the establishment of conditions conducive to voluntary repatriation".

Bangladesh "wants to make sure the situation in Myanmar is safe and secure", he said.

"Numerous reports of systematic widespread and coordinated acts of violence strongly indicate that crimes against humanity have been committed in Rakhine", said Sweden's deputy U.N. Ambassador, Carl Skau.

Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and Miroslav Jenca, Assistant Secretary General of Department of Political Affairs (DPA), briefed the meeting about the current state of play with the possible voluntary return of Rohingyas to Myanmar.

But Bangladesh's U.N. Ambassador Masud Bin Momen echoed Grandi, noting "the prevailing reluctance to repatriation among those forcibly displaced".

Haley also cited evidence of "another massacre and mass grave" discovered by two Reuters reporters, now imprisoned.

Momen said prospective returnees have made clear they first want assurances from the worldwide community about resettling in their original villages and not closed camps, getting back land and businesses including traditional fishing, access to local markets, and "freedom of movement to conduct a normal life".

He also thanked the European Union for its assistance to manage the influx of displaced Rohingya people who have fled persecution in Myanmar and taken shelter in Bangladesh.

Grandi said the Bangladesh government "is doing emergency preparedness efforts but worldwide support must be stepped up to avoid catastrophe".

This is part of the recent agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh to repatriate Rohingya refugees from the latter.

"These and other shocking reports of grave abuses demand our attention and action, for the sake of lasting peace and justice", he said.