Sun Nov 19 2017, 4:01:23 +03

UNSC Presidential Statement Calls on Myanmar to End Excessive Military Force in Rakhine

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(New York-AlummahWorld-Safar 19, 1439H) Calling on the Myanmar Government to end the excessive military force and intercommunal violence that had devastated the Rohingya community in Rakhine State, the Security Council this afternoon urged the implementation of agreed‑upon mechanisms to assist the return of those who have fled and to ensure access for humanitarian aid.

Through a statement read out by Sebastiano Cardi (Italy), its President for November, the Council condemned attacks against the Myanmar security forces by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on 25 August, while strongly condemning violence and abuses that had taken place since then that had displaced more than 607,000 people, the vast majority Rohingya, citing reports of systematic killing, sexual violence and destruction of homes.

Stressing the primary responsibility of the Government of Myanmar to protect its population, the Council emphasized the importance of reform in security and justice sectors in the country’s transition to democracy.  It urged the Government to work with Bangladesh and the United Nations to allow the voluntary return of refugees in conditions of safety and dignity to their homes, on the basis of a 24 October Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries.

Welcoming Myanmar’s decision to establish the “Union Enterprise Mechanism” for humanitarian assistance, resettlement and development in Rakhine, the Council urged the Government to ensure that the Mechanism supported such return and allowed United Nations agencies full access.  In that context, it urged the Governments and all humanitarian partners to pay special attention to the needs of women, particularly survivors of sexual violence.

In that regard, the Council welcomed the Myanmar Government’s public support for recommendations by the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State chaired by Kofi Annan and called for their full implementation.  It called in particular for the protection of human rights without discrimination, including freedom of movement, access to basic services and equal access to full citizenship.  It stressed the importance of transparent investigations into allegations of human rights violations, and of holding to account all those responsible.

Commending the provision of humanitarian assistance and support for dialogue by Bangladesh, other countries of the region and regional organizations, the Council requested the Secretary‑General to continue to engage with the Government of Myanmar through good offices, encouraging him to consider appointing a special advisor on Myanmar.

Myanmar’s representative expressed serious concern over the statement, which would not help to resolve the issue as it placed undue political pressure on Myanmar and as some elements infringed the work of other United Nations organs. He said that on 25 August, terrorist attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army had triggered a tragedy, with foreign militants fighting beside the rebels.

To deal with that tragedy, his Government had reached out to Bangladesh and two Memoranda of Understanding had been signed, he said.  Although Myanmar rejected some elements in the presidential statement, it was determined to find a sustainable solution for the issue of Rakhine State.  His Government would continue to work with the international community, including the United Nations, towards peace and development there.

The representative of Bangladesh thanked the Council for a comprehensive statement, which could be a building block towards the timely and critical action that was needed.  Time was of the essence.  His country would continue to provide aid to the hundreds of thousands who had fled and would continue to engage Myanmar.

The complexity of the engagement could be seen in the denial of the real situation by Myanmar’s representative, he said.  Claims about terrorism in Rakhine State were only part of the “fiction” put forward by that delegate.  He expressed hope that today’s statement would result in actions to assist those on the ground, supporting the appointment of a special representative as well.  Among the priorities was the adequate aid to those remaining, significant progress in the repatriation process and restoration of the rights and status of the Rohingya, he said.