ROHINGYA CRISIS

UNSC urges Myanmar to stop military action

China, Russia continue to obstruct moves for UNSC resolution

Shahidul Islam Chowdhury | Published: 01:20, Nov 08,2017 | Updated: 01:21, Nov 08,2017

 
 

Rohingya refugees who were entered Bangladesh by boat walk towards refugee camps after landing in Teknaf on Tuesday. — AFP photo

China and Russia have continued to obstruct efforts to move a resolution in the UN Security Council to ask Myanmar for immediate restraint of military campaign that forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh as influx continues from the bordering Rakhine State.
The UN Security Council, in a compromised statement on Monday, called on the Myanmar government to ‘ensure no further excessive use of military force in Rakhine state,’ and allow hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingyas driven from their homes to return, according to agencies.
To appease veto powers China and Russia, Britain and France dropped a push for the Security Council to adopt a resolution on the situation and the 15-member body instead unanimously agreed on a formal statement, according to Reuters.
China had indicated it was willing to resort to its veto power to block a resolution, but Beijing finally agreed to a statement during negotiations, according to Agence France-Presse.
The statement included most of the demands contained in a draft resolution presented by Britain and France in October, but that measure ran into strong opposition from China, a supporter of Myanmar’s former ruling junta.
During negotiations with China on the draft UNSC statement, language on citizenship rights was watered down, along with a demand
that Myanmar allow a UN human rights mission into the country.
France and Britain stressed that the top UN body was issuing ‘demands’ to Myanmar and that secretary general António Guterres would report on progress in 30 days.
Through the statement, ‘the Security Council expresses a strong and unanimous message to end the ethnic cleansing that is taking place before our eyes in Myanmar,’ said French ambassador Francois Delattre.
‘We will judge Myanmar on how they act. They have 30 days before the secretary-general will report,’ said British deputy UN ambassador Jonathan Allen.
The UNSC, in the statement read out by its president Sebastiano Cardi of Italy, said the council was resolute to keep eyes on Rohingya situation and asked the UN secretary general to report by 30 days.
‘The Security Council calls upon the government of Myanmar to ensure no further excessive use of military force in Rakhine State, to restore civilian administration and apply the rule of law, and to take immediate steps in accordance with their obligations and commitments to respect human rights,’ it said.
The Security Council ‘stresses the primary responsibility’ of the Myanmar government to protect its population through respect for the rule of law and the respect, promotion and protection of human rights, the statement said.
It also stressed the importance of transparent investigations into allegations of human rights abuses.
The Security Council said it was alarmed by sexual violence, communal violence, and rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Rakhine state. It warned that the increasing number of refugees ‘has a destabilising impact in the region.’
It also stressed the need for dialogue for reconciliation in Rakhine State.
The council demanded that the Myanmar government allow immediate, safe and unhindered humanitarian aid and media access.
The Council members called for full access for humanitarian aid workers to Rakhine and said the government must address the root causes of the crisis by allowing ‘equal access to full citizenship.’
Bangladesh permanent representative to the UN Masud Bin Momen expressed Bangladesh’s readiness to work in the joint working group with Myanmar for visible, result-oriented and sustainable measures for resolving the Rohingya crisis.
He urged the international community in general and the UN General Assembly and the Security Council in particular to take necessary steps for implementation of the final report of the Kofi Annan Commission on Rohingya situation.
Addressing the council, Myanmar’s ambassador Hau Do Suan said the statement ‘exerts undue political pressure on Myanmar’ and warned it could exacerbate ‘religious tensions’.
Over 900 Rohingyas crossed into Bangladesh from Myanmar on Tuesday, officials said.
Over 6,11,000 minority Rohingyas, mostly women, children and aged people, entered Bangladesh fleeing unbridled murder, arson and rape during ‘security operations’ by Myanmar military in Rakhine, what the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing, between August 25 and November 7.
The ongoing influx took the total number of undocumented Myanmar nationals and registered refugees in Bangladesh to over 10,30,000 till Tuesday, according to estimates of UN agencies.
The United Nations denounced the violence in Rakhine State by the Myanmar security forces against people belonging to the Rohingya community as a classic example of ethnic cleansing.
Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono, German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel and Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallström and a team of the US Senate committee on foreign relations are scheduled to visit Bangladesh in the third week of November, officials said.
Japanese ambassador to Dhaka Hiroyasu Izumi discussed the visit of Taro Kono with foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali on Tuesday.
The Myanmar authorities claimed that the military operation is aimed at rooting out Rohingya militants who staged attacks on police posts.
The Rohingyas have faced decades of discrimination in Buddhist-majority Myanmar and have been denied citizenship since 1982, which has effectively rendered them stateless.  

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