POST TIME: 9 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Rohingyas not returning home soon: UN expert

Rohingyas not returning home soon: UN expert

The Rohingya people, who took shelter in Cox’s Banzar to escape from the atrocities orchestrated by the Myanmar security forces, local Buddhist mobs and people from different groups in Rakhine, are not returning to their homes in near future due to unfavourable safety situation across the border, observed a United Nations expert on Myanmar yesterday. So, there should be medium and long-term approach to deal with the crisis, UN rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee, who is barred to visit Myanmar, said after ending her 9-day mission to Bangladesh.

“As it is now clear that the government of Myanmar has made no progress or shown any real will to dismantle the system of discrimination in the country’s laws, policies, and practices, and to make northern Rakhine safe, the Rohingya refugees will not be returning to Myanmar in near future,” she said, noting that the repatriation talk is now premature.

“There must, therefore, be a shift to medium and longer term planning in Cox’s Bazar. I am concerned that the humanitarian response remains in the emergency phase with the focus on providing basic assistance to the community,” she added.

Though profusely praised Bangladesh for its generosity in hosting over a million of Rohingya people, she called upon the government to recognise them as refugees and maintain international standards in looking after them.

Referring that only 26 per cent of the joint response plan

of $ 951 million was so far met, Lee called upon the international community to come forward more generously.

She also laid emphasis on taking the views in cognizance while making any decisions with regard to the Rohingyas.

The UN expert revealed that she sought India’s permission repeatedly to visit New Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and Mizoram, where many thousands Rohingyas live, but the Indian government is yet to respond.

“I requested many times but they did not respond. I don’t know why they didn’t respond with yes or no,” she said.

Lee also said that she will request Beijing to facilitate a visit so that she can visit Myanmar nationals, who took shelter in China. To a question, she said that she too joins with the UN human rights commissioner in supporting a move by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to hold accountable the perpetrators of the atrocities against Rohingyas.

As ‘two permanent members are friends of Myanmar’, the UN Security Council will not refer this to the ICC, so it is the only possible root, she added.

The expert, who is from South Africa, lamented that despite repeated attempts the UN system did not share with his the memorandum of understanding signed between the Myanmar government and UN Development Programme and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

“Enough is enough. Justice is the key demand of the Rohingya refugees I spoke to during my mission and of activists and civil society in Myanmar. Accountability for the atrocities committed is urgently needed, must be delivered for all the people of Myanmar who suffered violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law,” said Lee.

“It is more than clear now unless the cycle of violence and persecution is broken, violations of human rights and international humanitarian law will continue in Myanmar,” she said.