POST TIME: 12 September, 2018 12:39:46 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 12 September, 2018 12:37:28 PM
Myanmar doesn’t act ‘sans int’l pressure’

Myanmar doesn’t act ‘sans int’l pressure’

Myanmar does not act without international pressure, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said yesterday, stressing the need for a strong world opinion to compel Naypyitaw to take back hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas, who had to flee their homes owing to the unprecedented atrocities orchestrated by the Myanmar security forces, local Buddhist mobs and people from other ethnic groups in Rakhine. “Our experiences suggest that Myanmar does not fulfil its obligations unless pressurised by the international community,” he said while addressing as chief guest at the launching of an Oxfam report on One Year on ‘Time to put Women and Girls at the Heart of the Rohingya Response’ in the capital.

“We believe the strong public opinion around the world that seeks accountability of the perpetrators would help Myanmar address the root causes of the Rohingya problem and take effective measures for ensuring basic needs of the Rohingyas when they return to their homes,” he added. The state minister reminded the audience of the recent report by the United Nations Independent International Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar that has termed the horrendous acts of Myanmar authorities as ‘genocide’, ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘war crimes’. “We would also request the international partners to  intensify their campaign for permanent solution to the Rohingya problem,” he said.

“The Myanmar authorities must demonstrate strong political will as well as visible actions to address the discrimination against the Rohingyas,” said Shahriar. “The international humanitarian actors need to continue their persuasion with Myanmar for access to the Rakhine State so that these needs of Rohingya women and girls could be adequately addressed once they return to their homes,” he said.

The state minister said that the government recognises the special needs of women and children and has provided customized humanitarian support for them. Around 34,338 pregnant women have been identified

who are provided with necessary health services. Quoting the UN report, Shahriar said that it has already been widely documented internationally that Myanmar has used rape as a weapon for creating terror among the Rohingyas and thus fuelling their mass exodus and that the scale, brutality and systematic nature of these violations indicate that rape and sexual violence are part of a deliberate strategy to intimidate, terrorise or punish a civilian population, and are used as a tactic of war. Meanwhile, Oxfam said that $72 million is separately needed to protect Rohingya women who are missing out on vital aid.

The international agency called for 15 per cent of new funding to be set aside for humanitarian programmes designed to better support women and girls – including $72 million of the nearly half a billion dollars recently committed by the World Bank. Currently, there is no standalone budget for meeting women’s specific needs in the overall emergency response.

According to the report, more than a third of women surveyed said they did not feel safe or comfortable going to collect water or using toilets and shower cubicles – many of which lack a roof and a lockable door. Half the women and three quarters of adolescent girls said they didn’t have what they needed to manage their periods, including a female-only place to wash sanitary cloths without embarrassment.