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4 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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UN ‘toothless’ against ‘mighty’ Myanmar

HUMAYUN KABIR BHUIYAN
UN ‘toothless’ against ‘mighty’ Myanmar

Six months into the latest crisis, the United Nations is yet to do anything noticeable for the Rohingyas, the worst persecuted community of the world, through any measure to make things better for them in Myanmar. Let alone taking any measure, the global body has not yet managed to ensure any access for itself, its organisations to affected Rakhine state, the scene of unprecedented atrocities by the Myanmar security forces, local Buddhist mobs and people belonging to other ethnic groups that have forced more about 7 lakh (700,000) people cross into Cox’s Bazar since August 25, last year. This figure is in addition to 3.5 to 4 lakh (350,000 to 400,000) Rohingyas living in Bangladesh for decades.

Against the backdrop of atrocities, ethnic cleansing and genocide, the UN has done its bit by issuing some statements, adopting some non-binding resolutions and making some visits to Bangladesh and Myanmar. During the visits of the UN officials to Myanmar, they were not allowed to the places of their choice.

And, very recently, Myanmar has refused a visit by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the most powerful organ of the global body. And, the UN is finding it difficult to get its resident coordinator appointed in Myanmar.

All these developments are prompting UN and government officials, diplomats and expert to state that ‘toothless UN is helpless in front of Myanmar’.

Alongside criticising the global body for its inability to protect the helpless Rohingyas, they also took a swipe at some countries for not allowing UN to work.

“Look, UN is an inter-governmental body. It works as the member states want,” a UN official told The Independent yesterday requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media in this aspect.

“We do understand the frustration of people about the UN inactions,” he said.

Another official echoed with his colleague, saying, “People’s negative feeling is understandable, but unfortunately that’s the way things are as of now.”

“Earlier, the Myanmar military has acknowledged of the existence of a mass grave. Now, we have reports of five mass graves. And, I’m sure there will be more,” said a senior diplomat.

“If the UN and the international community don’t act against these heinous crimes, then you can do nothing but expressing regrets,” he said.

“We all know that Myanmar’s power lies with China and Russia, two permanent members of the UNSC with veto power. If, these atrocities don’t jolt or prick the conscience of Beijing and Moscow, there is nothing you can do,” said another diplomat.

“A single country with unwavering support from a UNSC permanent member can ignore the whole world. If we want a world of rule of law there is no alternative but to reform the UN,” he said.

“In many instances, five permanent members come together. Iran deal and consensus on North Korea, a Chinese ally closer than Myanmar, are the latest glaring example. I fear that there is not enough efforts among the influential countries like the United States, United Kingdom, France, European Union, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and ASEAN to persuade China and Russia to act against Myanmar for its deeds,” said a senior government official.

“A UNSC resolution can solve the crisis in no time,” he said. “What can you do if countries prefer economic interests to lives of human beings?” he lamented.

“Yes, you are right. The UN has not delivered anything but some statements, visits and non-binding resolutions,” said Dr Delwar Hossain, a professor of the department of International Relations at the Dhaka University.

He described the inability of the UN to do anything so far for Rohingyas as ‘shameful’, but said that the UN is toothless because of the nature of the global body composed of. “Reform is a must if you really want a UN that will act to protect those who cannot protect themselves,” said the professor. He termed audacious Myanmar’s refusal to allow the UNSC into the country.

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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.

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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