Int’l quarters move for UN push over Rohingya crisis

UNSC meeting requested for today, White House deeply troubled, China backs Myanmar

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 00:05, Sep 13,2017 | Updated: 23:57, Sep 12,2017

 
 
Rohingya

An exhausted Rohingya refugee woman touches the shore after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border by boat through the Bay of Bengal, in Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh, September 11, 2017. — Reuters photo

Several countries would raise the Rohingya crisis in the annual UN General Assembly that began in New York on Tuesday, while Britain and Sweden requested a closed-door United Nations Security Council meeting today on the deteriorating situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
‘It’s a sign of the significant worry that the Security Council members have that the situation is continuing to deteriorate for many Rohingyas who are seeking to flee Rakhine state in Burma and move into Bangladesh,’ British ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft told reporters in New York on Monday, according to Reuters.
The meeting might take place on Wednesday (NYC time), diplomats said.
Rycroft said he thought that it would be ‘private meeting but with a public outcome of some form’.
The British and Swedish announcement came after the US White House broke its silence on the clashes, saying it was ‘deeply troubled’ by attacks by both sides, including the militant ambushes in Rakhine, where a military crackdown has sent more than 370,000 Rohingyas fleeing to Bangladesh since August 25.
The United States ‘is deeply troubled’ by the ongoing crisis in northern Rakhine State in Burma as people fled their homes in the wake of attacks on Burmese security posts, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.
She said that the massive displacement and victimisation of people, including large numbers of the ethnic Rohingya community and other minorities, showed that Myanmar security forces ‘are not protecting civilians’.
The US, she said, ‘is alarmed’ by the allegations of human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, burning of villages, massacres, and rape, by security forces and by civilians acting with these forces’ consent.
The White House called on the Burmese security authorities to respect the rule of law and end the massive displacement of people, including large numbers of the ethnic Rohingya community.
China, a member of the powerful UN Security Council, however, on Tuesday supported the Myanmar government’s efforts to ‘uphold peace and stability’ in Rakhine state, according to Agence France-Presse.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Tuesday, ‘We support Myanmar’s efforts in upholding peace and stability in the Rakhine state. We hope order and the normal life there will be recovered as soon as possible.’
‘We think the international community should support the efforts of Myanmar in safeguarding the stability of its national development,’ he told a regular news briefing.
Shuang, however, said China ‘condemn the violent attacks’ in Rakhine state in Myanmar.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang made the statement as the UN Security Council prepared to hold an urgent meeting on the Rohingya crisis in a day or two.
Some 46 ambassadors chief and mission chiefs of different countries and international organisations would visit Cox’s Bazar today to see plights of Rohingyas on the ground as recent influx raised the total number of Rohingyas who entered Bangladesh to about 8,00,000 over three decades.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina would fly to New York on September 16 to lead the Bangladesh delegation in the 72nd UNGA, foreign ministry officials said.
Foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali said they would raise Rohingya issues at different UN forums including the General Assembly.
Fifty-seven-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation is expected to hold a meeting to discuss the Rohingya issues on the sideline of the UN General Assembly in New York next week.
Turkey said that it would raise the Rohingya issue in the UNGA.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom on Monday strongly condemned attacks on civilians and security forces in Burma’s Rakhine State. Burma’s security forces have razed entire villages, slaughtered families, and even placed landmines in the path of fleeing refugees, creating ‘a staggering humanitarian disaster,’ according to USCIRF’s chairman Daniel Mark.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a speech in Tehran on Tuesday, criticised Myanmar leader Aung Sun Suu Kyi mentioning that crackdown on Rohingya Muslims marks the ‘death of the Nobel Peace Prize.
‘A cruel government, at the top of which sits a cruel woman who was awarded a Nobel prize, kills innocent people, sets fire to them, destroys their houses and displaces them and no tangible reaction is seen,’ Khamenei said.
Outgoing French ambassador in Dhaka Sophie Aubert, in a meeting with state minister for foreign affairs Md Shahriar Alam on Tuesday, termed the recent situation in Rakhine State as ‘cleansing’. She appreciated the Bangladesh’s role in this regard. 

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