UK’s John­son urges ‘in­de­pen­dent’ probe of refugee cri­sis in Suu Kyi talks

'in­de­pen­dent' probe of refugee cri­sis in Suu Kyi talks

Mizzima Business Weekly - - CONTENTS -

Bri­tain's for­eign min­is­ter Boris John­son stopped off in Myan­mar last week to press Aung San Suu Kyi on the need for an in­de­pen­dent probe into vi­o­lence in Rakhine state, as the coun­try faces mount­ing pres­sure to pun­ish troops ac­cused of abuses against the Mus­lim Ro­hingya.

John­son met with the Myan­mar leader, whose rep­u­ta­tion among the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity has crum­bled over her han­dling of the cri­sis, in the cap­i­tal Nay Pyi Taw while on a four-day Asian tour. The meet­ing fol­lowed John­son's visit to a refugee camp in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar district, where nearly 700,000 Ro­hingya have sought sanc­tu­ary af­ter flee­ing a Myan­mar army crack­down launched in north­ern Rakhine last Au­gust.

"I un­der­lined the im­por­tance of the Burmese au­thor­i­ties car­ry­ing out a full and in­de­pen­dent investigation

“I’ve never seen any­thing like it in my life,” said John­son, clearly shocked by the dev­as­ta­tion and size of the ex­o­dus.

into the vi­o­lence in Rakhine, and to hold to ac­count those re­spon­si­ble for hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions," John­son said in a state­ment, us­ing the al­ter­na­tive name for Myan­mar, re­leased af­ter the meet­ing and a brief trip to north­ern Rakhine.

It added that he had stressed the "ur­gency" of cre­at­ing the con­di­tions in the state that could make it a "safe place for the Ro­hingya refugees to re­turn to, free from fear".

John­son's state­ment said he had also "raised the plight" of two ar­rested Reuters jour­nal­ists with Suu Kyi.

He told the BBC that he doubted whether Suu Kyi re­ally un­der­stood the “full hor­ror” of the refugee cri­sis.

“I’ve never seen any­thing like it in my life,” said John­son, clearly shocked by the dev­as­ta­tion and size of the ex­o­dus.

"I don't think she's been up in a he­li­copter to see what we have seen," John­son told the BBC, stress­ing, how­ever, that he still had con­fi­dence in her lead­er­ship.

Myan­mar's for­eign min­istry an­nounced in a Face­book post along­side pho­tos of the pair meet­ing that they had "dis­cussed in an open and friendly man­ner the lat­est de­vel­op­ments in Rakhine State, in­clud­ing plan­ning for the re­cep­tion of re­turnees who fled".

Myan­mar and Bangladesh have inked a deal to bring back refugees, but repa­tri­a­tion has yet to be­gin. John­son said the refugees “do want to go back but they don’t feel safe.”

He called for a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion and dig­ni­fied repa­tri­a­tion for those will­ing to go back.

Mr Boris John­son ar­rives in Sit­twe. Photo: EPA

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