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14 March, 2018 12:13:43 AM


United Nations fails Rohingyas

Says Under Secy-Gen Dieng
United Nations fails Rohingyas

A top official of the United Nations has acknowledged that the global body, particularly its security council, has failed the Rohingyas and laid emphasis on taking actions to make things right for the persecuted community. Under Secretary-General Adama Dieng, also a special adviser to the UN secretary-general on the prevention of genocide, called upon the international community including regional actors like China and India to put pressure on Myanmar to address the protracted problem through implementing the Annan commission recommendations, which include citizenship for the Rohingyas.

“We have failed Rohingyas. We must not fail the Rohingya population again. They have endured what no human being should have to endure,” Dieng told a press conference at the Liberation War Museum yesterday wrapping up his visit to Bangladesh at the invitation of the government from March 7 to 13.

Although it is a collective failure of the global body, the main responsibility to fail the Rohingyas lies with what Dieng described as ‘polarised security council’.

The UN official also said that no country should use its veto power on something that involves any risk of genocide.

He expressed optimism that China will play a positive role in resolving the crisis.

About the regional actors like China and India, Dieng reminded that it is about humanity and that ‘it’s about moral leadership rather than economic or political leadership’.

The special adviser said that the scorched earth campaign carried out by the Myanmar security forces since August 2017 against the Rohingya population was predictable and preventable.

“Despite the numerous warnings I have made of the risk of atrocity crimes, the international community has buried its head in the sand. This has cost the Rohingya population of Myanmar their lives, their dignity and their homes,” he said.

“Let us be clear: international crimes were committed in Myanmar. Rohingya Muslims have been killed, tortured, raped, burnt alive and humiliated, solely because of who they are. All the information I have received indicates that the intent of the perpetrators was to cleanse northern Rakhine state of their existence, possibly even to destroy the Rohingyas as such, which, if proven, would constitute the crime of genocide,” said Dieng.

“However, whether or not we consider that the crimes committed amount to crimes against humanity or genocide, this should not delay our resolve to act and to act immediately. We owe this to the Rohingya population,” he said.

Stressing the need for addressing the root causes of the problem, the under secretary-general said, “There must be accountability for the crimes that have been committed. I am perplexed by the denial of the widespread commission of serious crimes that has characterised the response of the Myanmar authorities.”

“I urge the international community, in particular the United Nations Security Council, to consider different accountability options. The world needs to show that it is not ready to tolerate such barbaric acts,” he said.

“I was encouraged by the commitment made by the Bangladeshi authorities I met that refugees would not be repatriated against their will,” said Dieng.

“What I have heard and seen makes it clear that the majority of the Rohingyas want to return to Myanmar, but only when they are able to do so in safety, dignity and with access to the basic rights that are fundamental to us all. So far, the Myanmar authorities have shown no genuine efforts to allow this,” he said.

“The solution to this problem lies first and foremost with the Myanmar authorities, by creating the conditions for the Rohingya population to return home in safety and be entitled to the same rights as any other citizen of Myanmar,” he added.

“The international community also has a responsibility to protect this population from the risk of further atrocity crimes. Under the present conditions, returning to Myanmar will put the Rohingya population at risk of further crimes. However, accepting the current status quo would be a victory for those who planned the attacks. We must not accept either of these scenarios,” said the under-secretary.

To a question, he talked about the constitution of a commission by the UN general assembly to professionally and judiciously gather evidence of the crimes to bring the perpetrators to justice when time is ripe. Dieng said that the International Criminal Court can act if it is referred by the UN Security Council.

Responding to a query, he informed that despite his attempts to visit Myanmar for several years, he was allowed in Myanmar by the authorities.



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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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