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29 November, 2016 00:00 00 AM

Rohingyas want UN peacekeepers in Myanmar

US backs Dhaka’s position on Rohingya: Bernicat
Staff Reporter

Rohingya leaders have demanded immediate deployment of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Mynmar’s Rakhine State to maintain peace in the troubled region. If peace returned to Myanmar, Rohingya refugees would go back to their own country, they said. The community leaders raised the demand while talking to the The Independent on Sunday. Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Dhaka Marcia Bernicat yesterday said Washington fully supports Bangladesh’s position that the Rohingya’s should be able to go back to their homes in Myanmar and be allowed to live safely.
Members of the Rohingya community in Myanmar, who have crossed over to Bangladesh, had hoped that their persecution in Myanmar would end if the party of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi came to power.
Although the country’s much-awaited elected government, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, came to power last year, Rohingya Muslims living in the Rakhine state were yet to get a taste of peace.
Moreover, they were forced to leave Rakhine state with a series of gang rapes, murders and torture incidents carried out by Myanmar troops and the 969 militia.
Under the circumstances, Md Dudu Mia, chairman of the Camp Management Committee of the Leda Rohingya Refugee camp (unregistered) of Teknaf, demanded that UN peacekeepers be stationed in his homeland.
“Every day, the military along with the militia group 969 torture Rohingya Muslims. As Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), has not been able to ensure peace in our state, we demand the deployment of the UN Peacekeeping Force. If it’s posted and torture by Myanmar troops ends, all Rohingyas will return to Myanmar,” he said.
“I became a refugee in 1978, when I was eight years old. With help of the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugee), I returned to my country in 1994 and got married. Again, in 2003, I had to leave my country in the face of military torture,” said the leader of about 20,000 Rohingyas living in the Leda refugee camp.
“The troops killed all our talented people since 1978. The violence on women by Myanmar troops is worse than the crimes that had been committed by Hitler’s Nazi party,” added Dudu Mia.
“Every day, people are entering the camp after fleeing Myanmar,” he said.
He lamented that the human rights of Rohingyas were being trampled on.“Can’t the UN Peacekeeping Force be deployed in Rakhine state to save us?” he said.
Dudu Mia also sought help from neighbouring countries China and Thailand, while acknowledging the helping hand Bangladesh had extended. “If the UN plays its role, we can go back to our usual life,” he told The Independent.
Abu Siddique, a Rohingya leader of the Kutopalong unregistered camp housing about 56,000 refugees, said: “We demand immediate deployment of the UN Peacekeeping Force to establish peace in my state.”
“The militia 969 carries out planned attacks on the military and Muslims are blamed for it. After carrying out an attack, they go into hiding, and the military comes and attacks us. But the army have never found any weapon in the hand of any of us,” he added.
In Cox’s Bazar, 35,000 refugees are housed in two registered camps, and about one lakh of them in two unregistered camps.
The Myanmar army had begun a crackdown following an attack on a GBP on October 9, resulting in Rohingyas fleeing to Bangladesh. Since then, they are infiltrating into the country almost daily in search of safety. Every day, Rohingyas are coming to Bangladesh using different boarder points. They are taking shelter in registered and unregistered Rohingya refugee camps and also in local people’s homes.
Sources said over 100 Rohingyas had sneaked into Bangladesh early yesterday.
Many Rohingyas, who had managed to enter Bangladesh, are fanning out to different parts of the country. They are leaving Teknaf and Ukhiya of Cox’s Bazar every day with the help of middlemen.  Sources said that after infiltrating into Bangladesh, Rohingyas had initially taken shelter in houses of middlemen or unregistered camps, but subsequently left for other places in the country.
However, BGB sources said they had increased vigilance at checkpoints to plug the trickle.
Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Dhaka Marcia Bernicat told a programme titled DCAB Talk at the EMK Centre in Dhaka that the United States condemns the violence in Rakhine state of Myanmar, saying that the core of the problem lies inside that country.
“We condemn the violence occurring in Rakhine state and have called for formal investigation and continue to monitor the situation there very closely. There is a general agreement that the core of the problem is happening inside Burma,” she said.
 The Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh organised the programme.
 “We are providing support for the Rohingyas who are already in Bangladesh and will continue to do so. We have been putting pressure on the government in Burma both before and after the elections urging them to respect the rights of all of the people living in their country including the right to call themselves what they want to,” she said.  Bernicat was full of praise for Bangladesh for hosting Rohingyas and for its skilful and patient bilateral engagement with Myanmar government with regard to the issue.
“No one has had access to that place for some time. What we need is to have access as the international community to that area. First and foremost job is to provide humanitarian assistance to people there and also to determine what is going on,” she said.
“We call for a full, formal, transparent investigation of the situation. We like to get a full read and then participate with the international community in finding a solution to the situation finally,” she added.
The Ambassador also condemned the attack on Myanmar border police posts in October and said that granting the US envoy in Myanmar access to that area recently is a good sign. 


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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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