The United Nations has said a substantial progress remains urgently needed in three key areas including addressing the root causes of the Rohingya crisis and a clear pathway to citizenship for Rohingyas who are eligible.
Two other areas covered by the memorandum of understanding are granting effective access in Rakhine State and ensuring freedom of movement for all communities.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the United Nations Development Programme say they stand ready to commence assessment activities in 23 villages following the signing of MoU by the two agencies and the government of Myanmar three months ago.
‘These assessments would be a first step only, with the expectations that access will be expanded to allow for the large scale comprehensive assessments that continue to be needed,’ Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, told reporters in a regular briefing at the UN headquarters.
The assessment in the initial list of villages is part of a broader work plan that has been under discussion with the authorities in Myanmar since July, he said.
By commencing with needs assessments to identify and implement quick-impact projects, UNHCR and UNDP hope to jump start confidence building measures aimed at rebuilding trust and social cohesions with those communities that remain in Rakhine State, said Dujarric.
Responding to a question, the Spokesman said the first steps is creation of confidence-building measures for the Rohingya populations that remain in Rakhine State, to ensure full access to the relevant UN agencies.
‘At the end of the day, it’ll be those Rohingya refugees that will have to make the determination, free from pressure, to go back, voluntarily, in dignity,’ he said.
The UN spokesman also said he is not saying there is no resolution in the near future. ‘We’re working towards a resolution.’
On Thursday, the International Criminal Court’s came up with a ruling that it has jurisdiction over Myanmar’s deportation of the Rohingya population to Bangladesh, a crime against humanity.
Amnesty International has said the ICC decision is a significant step in the right direction which opens up a clear avenue of justice for the Rohingya who were driven out of their homes, often as soldiers opened fire on them and burned down their villages.
However, Myanmar on Friday rejected the ruling by the International Criminal Court that empowered the tribunal to probe alleged crimes against the Rohingya though Myanmar is not a member of it.