Dhaka, Bangladesh
Key Rohingya panel members quit

Key Rohingya panel members quit

Dhaka wants UNSC to deliver

News Report Two key members of an international advisory panel on Myanmar's crisis-hit Rakhine state, veteran US diplomat Governor Bill Richardson and former Thai ambassador Kobsak Chutikul, resigned. Retired Thai lawmaker and ambassador Kobsak Chutikul was secretary for the panel hand-picked by civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi to advise her government how to handle the aftermath of a military campaign that drove the minority out of the country. Chutikul resigned on Tuesday. Chutikul told that Aung San Suu Kyi-appointed board risks becoming "part of the problem" in a conflict that forced 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee. The credibility of the advisory board was undermined early on by the resignation of US diplomat Governor Bill Richardson a one-time close confidant of Suu Kyi. He left the panel in January in a vicious war of words with the Nobel laureate. Richardson said he stepped down due to fears the committee would only "whitewash" the causes of the Rohingya crisis. Meanwhile, Bangladesh wants the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to deliver on Rohingya issue to have a sustainable solution to the crisis as the body having responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security sits on Monday. The Myanmar government has so far not taken any visible steps for the safe and sustainable return of Rohingyas despite repeated calls from the international community, say diplomatic sources. "The world is failing. I hope the UNSC has now much better understanding about the situation after the visit of its representatives. I just hope the UNSC will deliver on the matter as per our expectations," State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam told UNB. He laid emphasis on putting sustained pressure on Myanmar so that the Myanmar authorities take required steps to find the solution at the earliest. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres who recently visited Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar said the Rohingya are victims of ethnic cleansing and the world has failed them. Talking to UNB, a diplomatic source said the UNSC will sit at the second half of the day on July 23 (Monday) on Myanmar issues and the Rohingya issue will prominently come up. Bangladesh Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Masud Bin Momen is likely to get an opportunity to highlight Bangladesh's position at the meeting. Meanwhile, United Nations human rights experts have concluded a five-day visit to Bangladesh when they met newly arrived Rohingya refugees from Rakhine State, Myanmar, in the final weeks before the publication of their comprehensive written report. This visit of the Human Rights Council-mandated Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar to Bangladesh provided an opportunity for its experts and their team of investigators to hear fresh accounts of abuse and violence committed against the Rohingya in Myanmar, including those who recently arrived in Bangladesh. This is the second visit by the experts themselves, supplementing the investigations undertaken by their staff continuously since September 2017. "The trip we undertook (July 16-19) is our final field mission under our mandate," remarked Marzuki Darusman, former Indonesian Attorney General and Chairperson of the Fact-Finding Mission. "We started our fact-finding work here in Bangladesh, and we now finish here in the run up to the report we will be presenting to the Human Rights Council in September. The many victims we've spoken with have been asking questions about their future. The solution is to alleviate their suffering, to respect law and ensure justice." Over 700,000 of these have been forced to settle in the camps following the 'clearance operations' of the Myanmar military that commenced on 25 August 2017. The Fact-Finding Mission is scheduled to present its findings to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on September 18. It has previously presented three oral updates to the 47-member Human Rights Council - in September and December 2017, and March 2018. United Nations Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener also conducted her first official visit to Bangladesh from July 14 to 16. During her visit, she said the ongoing crisis requires a political solution that addresses the underlying issues. In all the discussions during the visit, the Special Envoy also underlined the importance of accountability for the crimes committed, officials said. Bangladesh and the internal bodies want to see implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Bangladesh and Myanmar signed on November 23 last year and the MoU among the government of Myanmar, UNHCR and UNDP signed on June 6 this year for the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of Rohingyas. Officials said Bangladesh maintains bilateral discussions with Myanmar apart from its efforts engaging the international community. Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali will visit Myanmar on August 8 to see conditions for safe return of Rohingyas, including their safety and livelihood facilities, an official told UNB. During his visit, UN chief laid emphasis on persistent commitment from the international community and put pressure on Myanmar very strongly in a united way to help Rohingyas go to their own homes safely. "We need both accountability and political solution creating the conditions for the people to be able to have a normal life in their own country," he told a joint press conference while responding to a question from UNB. He said they need the international community to unite and very strongly put pressure on Myanmar authorities to recognise these needs, including addressing their citizenship issue.

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