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6 December, 2017 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 6 December, 2017 02:10:46 AM
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Rohingya crisis

UNHRC adopts resolution on Rohingya issue

33 countries vote in favour; China, India stance remain unchanged
DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) yesterday adopted a resolution on the Rohingyas, condemning the atrocities committed against them by the Myanmar security forces and demanded that perpetrators be brought to justice. The resolution, on the situation of human rights of the Rohingya and other minorities in Rakhine State of Myanmar, also called upon the Myanmar authorities to allow unfettered access for UN investigators and aid workers.

The resolution brought by Bangladesh was adopted in a special session of the UNHRC in Geneva. Thirty three of the elected 47 members of the council voted for the resolution, three nations including China voted against, nine countries including India abstained while two countries were absent.

UN high commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, in his opening statement, condemned all acts of violence in Myanmar, whether committed by the security forces or the insurgents, saying, “In view of the scale and gravity of the allegations, the Human Rights Council should make a recommendation to the General Assembly to establish a new impartial and independent mechanism, complementary to the work of the Fact-Finding Mission, to assist individual criminal investigations of those responsible.”

Taking part in the debate, state minister for foreign affairs Shahriar Alam noted that the overwhelming support for the call to convene the special session of the UNHRC demonstrated the international community’s grave concern about the human rights situation of the Rohingya Muslim population and of other minorities in Rakhine State.

Bangladesh remained deeply concerned that Myanmar had not conducted any credible national investigation into the alleged gross human rights violations, he said, adding that only sustained international

pressure on Myanmar could ensure the fulfilment of its various commitments.

Catalina Aguilar Devandas, chairperson of the coordinating committee of the special procedures, who also spoke on behalf of Yanghee Lee, special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, reminded that hundreds of the villages of Rohingyas had been torched and burnt down since the alleged attacks by Rohingya militants on 25 August 2017.

“There had been credible allegations of serious human rights violations and abuses committed against the Rohingya, including extrajudicial killings, excessive use of force, torture and ill-treatment, sexual and gender-based violence, and forced displacement,” said Devandas.

Myanmar ambassador Htin Lynn reaffirmed the readiness of Myanmar to increase cooperation with the wider United Nations system in support of national efforts to improve the situation in Rakhine State. It was imperative to first concentrate on the immediate challenge of repatriating the people displaced, he said.

Lynn reassured that there would be no camps of returnees, but rather places for returnees until arrangements were made for their return to their places of origin. He added that casting a negative light on the efforts of Government of Myanmar was not helpful.

In discussions, speakers voiced deep concern about the reports of serious human rights violations against the Rohingyas and other minorities in Myanmar, including grave cases of violence, especially against women and children in Rakhine state.

While condemning the August 25, 2017 attacks on Myanmar’s security forces, speakers strongly condemned the crimes of ethnic cleansing and atrocities committed by extremists and elements associated with the Government forces against the Rohingya minority.

They called on the government of Myanmar to take all measures to provide justice to victims, ensure accountability, and to end impunity.  The government of Myanmar should fully cooperate with the fact-finding mission and grant it access to all areas and interlocutors.

Marzuki Darusman, chair of the fact-finding mission on Myanmar, in a video statement, said that the mission had conducted in-depth interviews with members of the Rohingya and other groups in the camps around Cox’s Bazar and elsewhere.  Victims and witnesses had recounted acts of extreme brutality against the Rohingyas, especially since August 2017.

Pramila Patten, special representative of the UN secretary-general on sexual violence in conflict, commended the council for holding this critical and timely special session, and also commended the people and the government of Bangladesh who had opened their borders, homes and hearts to Rohingya, the most persecuted minority in the world. The stories heard from the Rohingyas were heart-breaking and simply unimaginable, acts of unmitigated brutality against women and girls, she said.

The Chinese envoy said Beijing believed in dialogue and consultation as the only way out.

China had proposed a three-phase solution -- there should be a cessation of violence and a return of stability and order, the international community should encourage Bangladesh and Myanmar to work together to facilitate the repatriation of refugees, and finally, the root causes of the conflict, namely poverty in Rakhine State, should be addressed.

The Indian envoy said that Delhi abstained because the resolution is country specific.

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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