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10 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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UN-MYANMAR MoU ON ROHINGYA CRISIS

Transparency of deal, UN in question

HUMAYUN KABIR BHUIYAN
Transparency of deal, 
UN in question

Everybody appears to be in the dark about the memorandum of understanding (MoU) Myanmar signed with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), raising doubt and concern among many stakeholders about the transparency of the deal as well as the global body. The tripartite MoU was signed in Naypyitaw on June 6.         

“UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and UNDP, the UN Development Programme, signed today in Naypyitaw a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar,” said a release issued after the signing of the MoU.

“This MoU is a first and necessary step to establish a framework for cooperation between the UN and the Government aimed at creating conducive conditions for the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable repatriation of refugees from Bangladesh and for helping to create improved and resilient livelihoods for all communities living in Rakhine State,” it said, without elaborating further about the deal.

Myanmar, UNDP and UNHCR appear to be playing their cards on this issue close to their chest, prompting people to smell the rats.

During a recent visit to Rohingya settlements in Cox’s Bazar, it was found that the Rohingya people, about whom the Mou is meant do not something, were not consulted in any manner before the deal was signed.

The members of the persecuted community demanded that they should be informed about the content of the MoU and raised objections to some of the aspects of the signed deal that travelled to them from different sources.

During a press conference at a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, UN Secretary-General António Guterres was also asked about the MoU and some aspects of it. As the word Rohingya is not mentioned there, so is not the word Bengali Muslim and it is important to start working, taking the possible concession from Myanmar, he told a questioner.

“We understand their concern. They are Rohingyas to us. It is the first step. There is a long road ahead. In the meantime, we will have to support the Rohingyas in Bangladesh,” he said.  

Senior Bangladeshi diplomats in Yangon and Dhaka said that they are unaware of the content of the MoU.

“Look, neither of the Myanmar government, UNDP and UNHCR have yet shared the MoU with us despite the fact that we are suffering the most due to the crisis,” a top diplomat told The Independent.        

“We also don’t know about the content of the MoU. But, we are trying to get hold of a copy of the MoU,” said a senior diplomat at the Bangladeshi mission in Yangon.

At a press conference on Sunday, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Situation in Myanmar Yanghee Lee said that despite repeated requests she too failed to obtain a copy of the MoU and that she now placed her request with the highest level of the global body.

She said that the opinion of the Rohingyas is important in regards to the MoU as they are the main stakeholders.

The Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) yesterday accused the global body saying that the UN has made itself questionable through signing, what it termed, a secret deal with Myanmar.

In a press release, the anti-corruption NGO demanded that the whole content of the deal be published in an institutional manner to ensure transparency of the UN itself.

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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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