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13 October, 2017 12:39:28 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 13 October, 2017 11:46:46 AM

UNSC hears Kofi Annan brief today

North Rakhine situation appalling, envoy to Myanmar tells The Independent
UNSC hears Kofi Annan brief today


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The UN Security Council will hold an informal meeting today to hear from former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, also the head of Myanmar’s government-appointed Rakhine advisory commission, about the plight of the Rohingyas, according to international media. France and Britain requested the meeting with Annan as the council weighs its next steps to confront the crisis over the mass exodus of the Rohingya, who have crossed into Bangladesh. Britain has been working on a draft Security Council resolution that would

call for the return of the Rohingyas, but negotiations with China, a supporter of Myanmar's former ruling junta, have been slow.

At today’s closed-door meeting, all council members are invited to attend along with a few regional countries and regional organisations.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh envoy to Myanmar Sufiur Rahman yesterday told The Independent that the situation in northern Rakhine, from where more than five lakh Rohingyas had to flee to Cox’s Bazar to escape the atrocities of the Myanmar security forces and local Buddhist mobs, is appalling and indescribable.  

“The situation is appalling, indescribable as well as unbelievable. You cannot describe the plight of Rohingya people. You have to see it to believe,” he said while talking to this correspondent from Yangon over phone.

Ambassador Rahman along with ambassadors of four countries bordering Myanmar including  China, Thailand and India was taken to northern Rakhine on Tuesday by the Myanmar government. The envoys were taken to two places of the choice of the host government.

“Our visit to the two areas involved journey by plane, helicopter and motor vehicles. We were taken to

two places. In these places, 1,000 and 700 Rohingyas respectively were waiting right opposite to the Teknaf shore to cross into the Bangladesh,” he said.

“These people are in unbearable misery without any food. I talked to some of them. They said in their dialect that they will die here or Bangladesh, but will never return home. When I reminded them of the dire state of Rohingyas who are already in Bangladesh, they said that even then they want to go,” said the ambassador.

He said, “If the situation is so dire in the less-affected areas we were taken, you can easily imagine the situation in the worst affected areas.”

“While flying on a helicopter and riding on vehicles, I have seen burnt villages, miles after miles,” he added.

To a question, Rahman said, “I don’t think Myanmar government will be able to handle the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine.”

To another question, he said, “I have already sent my report to the foreign ministry after my visit.”

About a United Nations report released on Wednesday stating that the Myanmar security forces started their crackdown on Rohingyas in the beginning of August rather than August 25, following the alleged attacks by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, the envoy said, “On August 11, I sent a report to the foreign ministry that Myanmar is going to launch another crackdown on Rohingyas which will be much more worse

than the previous one in October,

last year.”

UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar Yanghee Lee, on August 11, also warned that Myanmar military might start operations.

About the claim of the Myanmar government that its military started operations following the alleged attacks on August 25 by ARSA, government sources familiar with engagements with Naypyidaw said that there have always been a ‘question mark’ about the claim because the attacks took place on the very day the Annan commission made public their recommendations to solve the protracted problem.

“Why will ARSA launch attacks on the day of publications of the recommendations that go in their favour?” questioned a senior official.

About the UN report released yesterday detailing horrifying brutalities against Rohingya, the sources said that it is now the obligation of the international community to act on this and Bangladesh, on its part, will do its best to highlight the issue in the international domain.

UN top official in Myanmar withdrawn

In another development, the United Nations on Wednesday announced that its top official in Myanmar Renata Lok-Dessallien is being recalled to headquarters in New York.

Renata Lok-Dessallien was the focus of a BBC investigation last month in which she was accused of suppressing internal discussion on Rohingya Muslims. The UN said Ms Dessallien would leave by the end of October.

More than 500,000 Rohingya have fled a military offensive following deadly militant attack on police in August, with many now in camps in Bangladesh.




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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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