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Rohingya Crisis: China, other big powers urged to show moral leadership

‘World needs to show it’s not ready to tolerate such barbaric acts’

13 March 2018,Tuesday, 23:23



United Nations Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng has urged the international community and influential countries to continue to act effectively and show moral leadership for the safe return of Rohingyas to their homeland, UNB reports.

The UN Under Secretary said there must be accountability for the crimes that have been committed.

“I’m perplexed by the denial of the widespread commission of serious crimes that has characterised the response of the Myanmar authorities,” he told a press conference at Liberation War Museum Auditorium here on Tuesday.

Dieng urged the international community, particularly the United Nations Security Council, to consider different accountability options. “The world needs to show that it’s not ready to tolerate such barbaric acts.”

“I sincerely hope China will play its role as one of the major powers in this region. It is very important. It is about humanity, it is about saving lives.We need to show moral leadership,” he said.

National Information Officer, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) M Moniruzzaman was present.

The UN official mentioned that they cannot sacrifice those principles and they cannot sacrifice moral leadership.

“It’s not only about economic leadership. It’s not only about political leadership. Today, it’s more than that,” Dieng said while responding to a question on the role of China, India and Russia.

"So far, Myanmar has shown no genuine effort," said the United Nations Special Adviser to the Secretary-General.

Dieng said 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’ve made of the risk of atrocity crimes, and 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.

Dieng said, "Let’s 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.”

He said all the information he has received indicates that the intent of the perpetrators was to cleanse northern Rakhine state of their existence, possibly even to destroy the Rohingya as such, which, if proven, would constitute the crime of genocide.

However, Dieng said, whether or not they consider that the crimes committed amount to crimes against humanity or genocide, this should not delay their resolve to act and to act immediately.

"We owe this to the Rohingya population. First, the root causes of the problem must be addressed. Only then this population can return in safety and dignity to Myanmar," he said.

He called on the international community to do more to support Bangladesh in shouldering this responsibility by providing support to the refugees and host communities.

The social and economic strains and the environmental impacts that the influx these refugees are placing on the area and the host community are clearly visible.

"I encourage the Bangladesh government to facilitate more dialogue between the two communities to avoid misperceptions and the build-up of tension," said the UN Under Secretary.

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

"What I’ve heard and seen makes it clear that the majority of the Rohingyas want to return to Myanmar, but only when they’re able to do so in safety, dignity and with access to the basic rights that are fundamental to us all," he said.

So far, the Myanmar authorities have shown no genuine effort to allow this, he added.

"In fact, refugees continue to cross the border. It’s imperative also that the Rohingya, while in Bangladesh, are afforded more chances to uplift themselves educationally and through access to livelihoods."

"Doing so will help them both in Bangladesh and when they’re able to return to Myanmar. We must not fail the Rohingya population again. They’ve endured what no human being should have to endure," said the UN Under Secretary.

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 citizens of Myanmar.

"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," he observed.

However, Dieng said, accepting the current status quo would be a victory for those who planned the attacks. "We must not accept either of these scenarios."

He highly appreciated Bangladesh's moral leadership and sought support for Bangladesh from the international community.

From March 7 to 13, he visited Bangladesh to assess the situation of the Rohingya population who have crossed the border from Myanmar to Bangladesh.

The mandate of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide is to act as a catalyst to raise awareness on the causes and dynamics of genocide, to alert the relevant authorities where there is a risk of genocide, and to act as an advocate and mobilise for appropriate support.

 

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