Desk Report: The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has expressed its commitment to keep the Rohingya situation of Myanmar high on the Council's agenda during its presidencies in the coming months.
Several members of the Council came up with the pledge at the first open council meeting organised by the Kuwaiti Presidency of the Council on the situation in Myanmar at the UN on Tuesday, according to a press release of Bangladesh Permanent Mission to the UN received here on Wednesday.
Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and Miroslav Jenca, Assistant Secretary General of Department of Political Affairs (DPA), briefed the meeting about the current state of play with the possible voluntary return of Rohingyas to Myanmar.
The meeting was convened at the behest of a number of Council members led by the United Kingdom while the Security Council invited the Permanent Representatives of Myanmar and Bangladesh to speak at the meeting as countries directly concerned.
All the 15 members of the Council spoke at the meeting and once again commended the generosity of the Bangladesh government and its people for providing emergency shelter to nearly 700,000 forcibly displaced people of Myanmar.
They expressed satisfaction at the bilateral arrangements signed between Bangladesh and Myanmar on voluntary return and underscored the need for the international community's support to Myanmar for creating a favourable situation on the ground for the Rohingyas' sustainable return.
The Council members recalled that Myanmar had agreed to implement the recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Commission headed by Dr Kofi Annan.
A number of Council members stressed the need for tangible actions to realise this commitment, including restoring the citizenship rights of the Rohingya people.
Some council members expressed shock at the news of mass graves discovered in Rohingya villages in northern Rakhine State of Myanmar and reports of extrajudicial killings and forced starvation.
They urged Myanmar to ensure accountability for the perpetrators of such crimes and to ascertain that the affected people received humanitarian assistance without any restriction.
The members also called upon Myanmar to end harassment and detention of the two Reuters journalists who had obtained proof of mass graves and killings by security forces and local vigilante groups in September last year.
Bangladesh Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Masud Bin Momen said the UN Security Council should continue to act on behalf of the international community as the custodian for the process of voluntary, safe and dignified return of the forcibly displaced Rohingyas to Myanmar's Rakhine State.
He shared information on the government's ongoing efforts to facilitate the voluntary, safe and dignified return of the Rohingyas to Myanmar.
In this context, the ambassador quoted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's statement at the General Assembly last year, "The crisis has its root in Myanmar and its solution has to be found in Myanmar".
He acknowledged the international community's support in providing humanitarian assistance to the distressed Rohingya people.
Momen expressed that the UN secretary general's special envoy on the situation in Myanmar would be appointed soon who would act as a conduit for international community's engagement with the Myanmar authorities.
The Bangladesh permanent representative invited the Council members to visit Bangladesh to witness the situation of the displaced Rohingya people.
risingbd/Dhaka/Feb 14, 2018/Eva/SN/AI