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2 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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REPORT ON ATROCITIES AGAINST ROHINGYAS

UN ‘in a fix’ on its own role

HUMAYUN KABIR BHUIYAN
UN ‘in a fix’ on its own role

The report of an independent mission of the United Nations on atrocities against Rohingyas released about a week ago has apparently put the global body itself in trouble along with the international community, as the report was also critical of the failures of the UN in relations to protecting the persecuted people in Rakhine, according to Bangladeshi diplomats.

The 20-page report published on last Monday in Geneva also called for a comprehensive review of the UN’s work in Myanmar since 2011. Since then, there has not been any reaction or statement on the part of the UN or its chief. However, the spokesperson of the UN secretary-general said on Friday that the secretariat of the global body has read the report, is studying it further and waiting for the full report scheduled to be published on September 18.

There may be something, he said without elaborating. “As a matter of urgency, there must be a comprehensive, independent inquiry into the United Nation’s involvement in Myanmar since 2011, with a view to establishing whether everything possible to prevent or mitigate the unfolding crises was done; identifying lessons learned and good practice; making recommendations as appropriate, including on accountability; and enabling more effective work in future,” said the 20-page report regarding the UN.

“These are very strong words coming from none other than UN’s own experts. And, the global body must be under pressure to do something in this regard for the sake of upholding its credibility,” a senior diplomat with experience of working at the UN for a significant number of years.

“Unfortunately, the UN does not enjoy widespread support from common people, who believe that it fails to act to protect distressed people in most of the cases because of the veto system of the UN Security Council,” he said.

“If one of the five permanent members – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – votes against, the whole resolution becomes void,” he added. “The UN is now in trouble due to the report. I do think the UN has no choice but to look into its activities regarding Rohingyas as recommended by the mission. It will have to see if it could have done more to protect the Rohingyas,” said another senior diplomat, who had dealt with the UN system for a long time.

“At the same time, I would say that the UN is also helpless if the Security Council is not united. Even if it wants to do something about Rohingyas, it cannot do so as China and Russia are opposed to any tougher measures against Myanmar,” he said.

The diplomats said this report is so far way different from other reports on Rohingyas in terms of comprehensiveness, putting also the international community under pressure to do something.

Unusually, this report has named people, who need to be brought to justice, specified organisations including different organs of the UN and their tasks, they said. Under these circumstances, if the UN fails to act and look into its own failures, its ‘shaky’ image will be further damaged, said the diplomats, adding that the same applies in regards to the international community.

“You know, I think this is the report that the secretariat is taking very seriously, that all parts of the UN should take very seriously.  We look forward to the presentation of the report to the Human

Rights Council in September,” Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN secretary-general told a regular briefing on Friday in New York when asked about any actions on the global body’s failure.

“I think the, the UN, through its various representatives over the last few years in, in Myanmar, have always spoken, I think, very loudly and clearly in defence of human rights, in defence of the rights of, of all minorities, in Myanmar and have also been working, as the UN is mandated to do, on all sorts of development and other issues with the, with the Government of Myanmar, but I think our, as I said, through the years and, and all the representatives who have been there have been very consistent in their defence of human rights,” he said.

When asked if the UN secretariat accepts the recommendations regarding reviewing its activities, the spokesperson said, “We’ve read the report and we’re continuing to study it and we may have something, I mean, that’s, at this point, that’s where we are.”

When asked about any update on allowing UN special rapporteur to investigate the atrocities in Rakhine by the Myanmar government, he said, “As, as a matter of principle, it is important that all member states cooperate with the human rights mechanisms in the United Nations system.”

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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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.

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