Global

Monsoon threatens tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees, says UN

Monsoon threatens tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees, says UN

The visit puts a global spotlight back on the crisis amid warnings by the United Nations, aid groups and Myanmar's panel of worldwide advisers on Rohingya issues that the coming monsoon season would likely worsen the humanitarian situation.

"It shows the scale of the challenge as we try as a Security Council to find some way through that enables these poor people to go home", said British UN Ambassador Karen Pierce, who was approached by several crying women and girls.

Myanmar security forces were accused of rape, murder, torture and setting Rohingya homes on fire. They carried signs, some of which said "We want justice".

Russia's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyansky, said he and his fellow team members would not look away from the crisis after their visit, though he warned that there are no simple solutions.

But a delegate representing Russian Federation, one of the council's five permanent members with power to veto resolutions by the world's top worldwide peace and security body, said there was "no magic stick" for solving the cross-border humanitarian crisis.

"When we go back to NY we will consider, we will try to explore to speed up the implementation of the agreement ...for safe, free and voluntary and dignified return of the refugees", he said.

Earlier on Monday the council envoys met with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the country's capital Dhaka, who asked them to press Myanmar to take back "their citizens".

Rohingya insurgent attacks on security posts in Rakhine State in August past year sparked a military operation that Myanmar said was a legitimate response.

Britain's United Nations ambassador Karen Pierce said the Rohingya "must be allowed to go home in conditions of safety".

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"Myanmar should act in accordance with the agreement they have signed with Bangladesh (regarding the repatriation of the Rohingyas)", she was quoted as saying.

The UN envoys first visited Konarpara camp, a no man's land between Bangladesh and Myanmar where some 6,000 Rohingya have been trapped on bleak scrubland since the bloodshed began a year ago.

Thousands of refugees gathered at the Kutupalong camp to welcome the visiting delegation.

The UNSC delegates were scheduled to meet there with State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate who has been widely criticized over the crackdown in Rakhine against the stateless Rohingya.

"We want restoration of our citizenship under Rohingya ethnicity".

Myanmar has said the military operation in Rakhine was mounted to root out extremists and has rejected almost all allegations that its security forces committed atrocities.

The lack of a UNSC resolution to bring sanctions or an arms embargo against Myanmar over its treatment of the Rohingya has drawn much criticism, including from New York-based Human Rights Watch.

Bangladesh's acting foreign secretary, M. Khurshed Alam, said the delegation's visit is "very significant", with worldwide pressure on Myanmar continuing to mount to ensure the safe and voluntary return of the refugees, who are seeking protection from the United Nations.

"We can not remain silent about it", he said, adding that the issue would remain at the top of the UN Security Council's agenda.


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