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20 June, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Rohingya coalition demands resignation of UN chief

UN report admits to systematic failure in stopping genocide in Myanmar
Diplomatic Correspondent, Dhaka
Rohingya coalition demands resignation of UN chief

Free Rohingya Coalition (FRC), an umbrella network of Rohingya refugees, has demanded the resignation of United Nations (UN) secretary general and senior deputies for their systemic failure to stop the genocide unleashed by the Myanmar army.

In a 36-page official report (29 May 2019)—A brief and independent inquiry into the involvement of the UN in Myanmar from 2010 to 2018—former UN diplomat Gert Rosenthal acknowledges the body's systemic failure over the issue.

The Rosenthal report admits to what several generations of Rohingya survivors of Myanmar’s genocide have always known through their experiences. The UN has failed them, not simply since 2011, the report’s cut-off year, but since the first wave of Myanmar’s genocidal destruction in 1978.

This is not the first time the UN’s own diplomats and officials have conducted ad hoc assessments of the organisation's failure to deal with several types of crimes (i.e. war crimes, genocide, crime against humanity and crimes of aggression). In 2012, Charles Petrie, then UN assistant secretary general, also pointed out that the organisation failed to discharge its mandate of protection, reconciliation and humanitarian mission in Sri Lanka.

While the FRC welcomes the UN’s admission of its failure, it is troubled by the fact that the organisation repeatedly failed to pay heed to the lessons of the past. It has expressed deep scepticism about UN secretary general António Guterres’s promise of ‘implementing all the recommendations’ made by Rosenthal.

In August 2012, Gueterres, then UN High Commissioner for Refugees, was told in a meeting by Myanmar’s then president, Thein Sein, that the country intended to confine Rohingyas to segregated camps and requested the UN to facilitate the removal of Rohingyas from Myanmar. So, Myanmar’s intent to commit such crimes was made clear to the most senior level of the UN. But, still no action was taken.

Instead of holding his senior UN officials accountable for their failure to uphold the UN’s stated principles, as emphasised in the UN’s Human Rights Upfront policy of 2014, Guterres has rewarded UN manager Lok-Dessallien with the larger UN portfolio as the head of UN in India where she is based now.

Additionally, the UN secretary general’s mandate of Rosenthal as a sole consultant precluded the essential question of the organisation's own accountability. This has become clear in the report: “The consultant was not asked to evaluate the conduct of entities or individuals in the mode of personal or institutional accountability.”

Any internal assessment report that merely points out the systemic failure and chooses to turn a blind eye to those responsible within the organisation for the Rohingya debacle entirely evades the crucial issue of accountability and impunity regarding the conduct of UN officials. So, the FRC holds that the UN secretary general and his deputies should be held accountable for the failure that has emboldened Myanmar’s ongoing persecution of Rohingyas in Rakhine state.

 

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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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