Published: Mon, April 30, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

United Nations team visits Rohingya camp as refugees call for justice

United Nations team visits Rohingya camp as refugees call for justice

Rohingya Muslims have always been treated as outsiders in Myanmar, even though their families have lived in the country for generations.

"We have to push to see how we can speed up the process of the implementation of the bilateral agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar", said Kuwait's UN Ambassador Mansour Ayyad Al-Otaibi. "But there is no magic solution, there is no magic stick to solve all these issues", The Associated Press news agency quoted him as saying.

Kutupalong: A UN Security Council team visited Rohingya refugees trapped in the no man's land along the border between Bangladesh and Myanmar Sunday, as it weighs its response to one of the world's worst refugee crises. In a subsequent crackdown described by United Nations and USA officials as "ethnic cleansing", Myanmar security forces have been accused of rape, killing, torture and the burning of Rohingya homes.

Thousands of the Muslims have been brutally killed by government soldiers and Buddhist mobs since late 2016.

Rohingya population flocked to meet the delegation - five permanent members from China, France, Russia, UK and the United States, and 10 other non-permanent members - at Kutupalong camp, wielding posters and demanding safe repatriation back to Myanmar.

"We are here to learn more about the situation in order to see how [what] we can do", Velasqez, Peru's ambassador to the United Nations, said at a news conference after visiting the camp.

"I think we have witnessed the magnitude of the refugee crisis and very tragic situation of some of the families", he said.

Rohingya refugees hold up placards while U.N. Security Council delegates visit the Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia, Cox's Bazar, April 29, 2018. The UN refugee agency and Bangladesh recently finalized a memorandum of understanding that said the repatriation process must be "safe, voluntary and line with global standards".

The refugee crisis exploded about eight months ago when the Myanmar military launched a crackdown over Rohingya insurgent attacks on security posts.

"The problem there lies in their expulsion, treatment and the fact that they had to flee to Bangladesh", she said.

The Buddhist-majority Myanmar says it was an anti-insurgency operation while the United Nations termed it as "a textbook example of ethnic cleaning". Myanmar has faced intense worldwide pressure since the start of a military campaign in August that has driven some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims over the border into Bangladesh, where refugees have provided harrowing testimony of murder and rape by security forces and local mobs.

Prior to the briefing, the delegation visited Kutupalong refugee camp and Tombru border in Bandarban's Naikhyangchhari to assess first-hand the plight of the refugees there. "We want justice from them", he said.

"We want restoration of our citizenship under Rohingya ethnicity. They have killed my family members, they tortured us, they will kill us again", Mohammed Tayab said, standing in front of a tent where he was expecting to meet the United Nations team.

Tayab, who was using crutches, said he was shot in his right leg by Myanmar troops.

"We demand justice" and "Stop Genocide" are some of the slogans that put on display to draw attention of the diplomats from the 15-state council. According to an account by Agence France-Presse some of the refugees broke down into tears as they told the ambassadors about cases of rape and murder allegedly committed on the Myanmar side of the border. "We gave them shelter, shared food with them and most importantly saved million lives".

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