Draft UN res­o­lu­tion pres­sures Myan­mar over refugee cri­sis

Mizzima Business Weekly - - IN FOCUS -

The UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil is weigh­ing a draft res­o­lu­tion that would pres­sure Myan­mar to ad­dress the vi­o­lence that has driven hun­dreds of thou­sands of Ro­hingya Mus­lims to flee, ac­cord­ing to the text ob­tained by AFP on 25 Oc­to­ber. The pro­posed res­o­lu­tion, drafted by Bri­tain and France, would call on Myan­mar au­thor­i­ties to "im­me­di­ately cease mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions" and al­low refugees now liv­ing in makeshift camps in Bangladesh to re­turn. The six-page text does not threaten sanc­tions, but lays out a se­ries of con­crete de­mands. But diplo­mats said the draft res­o­lu­tion, which would be the first for­mal re­sponse from the top UN body, faces strong op­po­si­tion from China and they ex­pect tough ne­go­ti­a­tions ahead to reach agree­ment.

"The Chi­nese are not on board," said a Se­cu­rity Coun­cil diplo­mat, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity. "They want us to say noth­ing and do noth­ing on this is­sue." China, a sup­porter of Myan­mar's for­mer rul­ing junta, main­tains that it is us­ing pri­vate chan­nels to pass on the mes­sage that the vi­o­lence must end and the refugee cri­sis must be ad­dressed, ac­cord­ing to diplo­mats. Since late Au­gust, more than 600,000 Ro­hingya have fled an army cam­paign in Myan­mar's Rakhine state. Myan­mar au­thor­i­ties say the mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion is aimed at root­ing out Ro­hingya ter­ror­ists who staged at­tacks on po­lice posts two months ago.

-A list of de­mands

The draft res­o­lu­tion condemns the vi­o­lence in Rakhine state and at­tacks by Ro­hingya ter­ror­ists, while ex­press­ing "grave con­cern that the Myan­mar se­cu­rity forces and vig­i­lantes have been re­spon­si­ble for hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions and abuses." It calls on Myan­mar to al­low hu­man­i­tar­ian aid work­ers safe ac­cess to Rakhine state, where Ro­hingya who man­aged to es­cape the army cam­paign are now flee­ing amid dire food short­ages. The draft res­o­lu­tion also de­mands that UN rights in­ves­ti­ga­tors be al­lowed ac­cess to Rakhine to re­port on al­le­ga­tions of atroc­i­ties, and calls for the ap­point­ment of a UN spe­cial ad­vi­sor on Myan­mar. And it urges Myan­mar to im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions of a com­mis­sion led by for­mer UN chief Kofi An­nan that said the Ro­hingya should be granted cit­i­zen­ship rights.

The 1.1 mil­lion Ro­hingya have faced decades of dis­crim­i­na­tion in Bud­dhist-ma­jor­ity Myan­mar and have been de­nied cit­i­zen­ship since 1982, which has ef­fec­tively ren­dered them state­less. Rights groups have ac­cused the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil of drag­ging its feet on Myan­mar and are call­ing for tougher mea­sures, such as an arms em­bargo and tar­geted sanc­tions against those re­spon­si­ble for the at­tacks against the Ro­hingya. Ad­dress­ing the Gen­eral Assem­bly's com­mit­tee on hu­man rights, UN spe­cial rap­por­teur Yanghee Lee of South Korea said the coun­cil should adopt a "strong res­o­lu­tion" to tackle a po­ten­tial threat to the re­gion. "The cri­sis in Rakhine state has not only been decades in the mak­ing, but has been spilling over and con­tin­ues to spill over be­yond Myan­mar's borders," said Lee. "For a very long time now, this is­sue has not been sim­ply a do­mes­tic af­fair."

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