Rohingya Crisis: UNSC needs to act fast as promised

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in a photo session with the representatives of UN Security Council on Monday, April 30.

No immediate action against Myanmar; UNSC sees no resistance from China, Russia

Bangladesh witnessed a high-profile visit from the UN Security Council (UNSC) last week (April 28-30) that did not generate any hope over any immediate action against Myanmar. In fact the visit should have taken place a long time ago but Myanmar’s refusal had precluded it. But we cannot deny that this visit will mount pressure on Myanmar keeping in mind there is no quick solution to Rohingya crisis.

The UNSC delegation, before leaving Dhaka for Myanmar capital on April 30, however promised to work hard to resolve the Rohingya crisis. At the same time, they ruled out any sanction by the council anytime soon.

They, in fact, assured all concerned of helping Bangladesh and Myanmar to expedite the implementation of the Rohingya reparation agreement signed between the two countries for safe return of Rohingyas.

“The situation can’t remain without a solution. It’ll remain in our agenda as one of our priorities,” said Permanent Representative of the State of Kuwait to the United Nations Mansour Ayyad Al-Otaibi without generating any hope over quick solution.

In a pre-departure crowded press conference at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on April 30, Ambassador Mansour said there is no resistance from China and Russia in terms of finding a solution to Rohingya crisis.

“I don’t see any resistance from China and Russia. They’re with us. They also want to see a solution,” he said adding that this is a humanitarian crisis and human rights issue.

Responding to a question, he also said no one is protecting anyone (Myanmar) but they want to see the international obligation is implemented.

“All parties should show commitments to solve the crisis as soon as possible. We can’t remain silent about this,” Ambassador Mansour said.

When will go back to New York, they, what they said, will try to explore ways and means to expedite the implementation of the agreement signed between Bangladesh and Myanmar for safe, free, voluntary and dignified return of Rohingyas from Bangladesh to Myanmar. This is the message they conveyed to us.

Ambassador Mansour said they should not raise the expectation about a quick solution but they want to help all the parties concerned to speed up the process on the implementation of the deal signed between the two countries.

It seems that they want to see a solution. But they wanted to point out that the solution cannot come very quickly.

Conveying a message to all the parties concerned, Mansour said they are determined to find a solution to this crisis.

The UNSC delegation members highly appreciated Bangladesh’s generosity saying the people of Bangladesh opened their doors and hearts for around millions of Rohingyas.

Peru’s Ambassador to the UN and delegation leader Gustavo Adolfo Meza Cuadra Velasqez said they are unified and mentioned that things are happening including appointment of special envoy on Myanmar by the UN Secretary General which will help find a solution.

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

United Kingdom’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Karen Pierce said the UNSC is going to work hard to help Bangladesh and Myanmar resolve this crisis.

“The problem there lies in their expulsions, treatment and the fact that they had to flee to Bangladesh,” she said.

Ambassador Mansour said they should not expect that the council will take a decision or impose sanctions. “Because I don’t think there will be a sanction by the council anytime soon.”

He said the problem is in Myanmar and what they will ask Myanmar just to implement their obligation.

“Hopefully, the situation won’t deteriorate. We hope the special envoy recently appointed by the UN secretary general will play his role and we’ll see speedy implementation of the agreement signed between Bangladesh and Myanmar,” he said.

The high-profile delegation of the UN Security Council termed Rohingya crisis a very “complex” issue and said there is no ‘easy solution’ to it.

“This is indeed a very complex issue. There won’t be an easy solution to this. We work together in the Security Council (on the issue),” one of the delegation members told reporters after visiting Rohingya camp.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam said it is easy to light a fire but very difficult to extinguish it.

“From the very beginning, we said its solution is difficult. The UNSC members now understand the depth of the problem,” he said adding that the delegation members highly appreciated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government’s efforts.

He said the UNSC team is touched by the stories of Rohingyas and realised that the root cause of Rohingya crisis lies in Myanmar.

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.

The delegation left for Myanmar capital shortly after the briefing on Monday where they will interact with Myanmar authorities and visit Rakhine State.

The delegation will submit report once they go back to New York after wrapping the visit on May 2.

The high-profile delegation arrived here on Saturday and met Rohingyas on Sunday in Cox’s Bazar district.

During the interaction with UNSC delegation members, Rohingyas in the camp conveyed their emotional pleas to the UN Security Council for their rights and safe return to their homes in Myanmar.

They highly appreciated Bangladesh for its generosity saying Bangladesh opened its door and heart for the Rohingyas.

They also said the international community is standing beside Bangladesh over the Rohingya issue.

Support of China, Russia matter

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has made it clear to the UNSC delegation that Bangladesh expects China, Russia, India and Japan to play a major role in resolving the Rohingya crisis.

When UNSC delegation members met her on Monday morning at her official residence Ganobhaban, Sheikh Hasina renewed her call to the international community to continue mounting strong pressure on the Myanmar government to take back their over one million Rohingya nationals from Bangladesh.

The Prime Minister appreciated the international community as they extended help and support to Bangladesh in this crisis and put emphasis on implementation of the Kofi Annan Commission recommendations on the Rohingya issue.

Bangladesh currently has a Rohingya population, which is far more than Bhutan’s entire population. Bhutan has around 800,000 people whereas Bangladesh had to give shelter to some 1.2 million Rohingyas.

Meanwhile, according to Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam, at least two lakh Rohingyas went aboard with Bangladeshi passports and they are earning there and sending money to Myanmar.

Bangladesh and Myanmar signed the repatriation agreement on November 23, 2017. On January 16, Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a document on ‘Physical Arrangement’ which will facilitate the return of Rohingyas to their homeland from Bangladesh. The ‘Physical Arrangement’ stipulates that the repatriation will be completed preferably within two years from the start of repatriation. Unfortunately, we have seen no progress.

We want to believe that China, Russia, India and Japan are on board in finding a solution to Rohingya crisis. We hope the UNSC will act as promised when they will go back to New York after wrapping up their Myanmar mission on May 2. We hope the cycle of inaction will be broken and Rohingyas will be able to return to their homes in Myanmar in a safe and dignified manner.

  • DhakaCourier
  • Vol 34
  • Issue 43

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