Myanmar army chief denies rape of Rohingya


Denied access to Myanmar in the months immediately after the crisis, a UN Security Council delegation is making a belated first visit to Myanmar to ratchet up pressure for a safe and dignified return of the Muslim minority.

It has tried to bluff Bangladesh with insincere shows of trying to repatriate refugees while confining other Rohingyas in Rakhine in squalid, claustrophobic camps and disregarding Bangladesh's and the worldwide community's demand to create proper conditions for repatriation.

State television showed the ambassadors touring the border area.

Aung San Suu Kyi also discussed the government's provision of humanitarian assistance to all people, the need to build trust in communities, the citizenship process for returning Rohingya, the closure of displacement camps that house Rohingya, the issuance of National Verification Cards for returning refugees, and the enforcement of the rule of law in Rakhine state.

United Nations, May 1 The United Nations Security Council members, who met Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi during their mission to Bangladesh and Myanmar, will today visit Rakhine state, the epicenter of the Rohingya refugee crisis. On our arrival NY, we will continue our discussions.

The United Nations General Assembly could alternatively create an global inquiry into the most serious crimes committed against the Rohingya, similar to what the U.N. has done in Syria.

The refugees are seeking United Nations protection to return home.

Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed in December to begin repatriating the refugees in January, but there were concerns among rights groups and Rohingya that they would be forced to return and face unsafe conditions in Myanmar.

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The Myanmar army launched counterinsurgency sweeps in Rakhine state after deadly attacks last August on security personnel.

Their visit to Myanmar comes after an emotionally-charged stay in Bangladesh where Rohingya refugees told delegates of their trauma.

Kuwait's ambassador to UN Mansour al-Otaibi, a UNSC delegation member, told the premier that the Security Council wanted to send a clear and strong message that "we're determined to end this humanitarian crisis". "The important thing for us is explaining the issue to them in a way that will foster a solution and resolve problems and not create more complications". Any Council resolution would need nine votes in favour and no vetoes by either Russian Federation or China, an ally of Myanmar.

In New York, U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq noted at a briefing that "around 500,000 Rohingya still live in Rakhine, facing continued discrimination and marginalization, including around 130,000 men, women and children who are trapped in appalling conditions in camps".

The Security Council asked Myanmar in November to ensure no "further excessive use of military force" and to allow "freedom of movement, equal access to basic services, and equal access to full citizenship for all". "This is the reality that must be changed if refugees are to be reasonably expected to return".

Bangladesh has done more than its share by sheltering more than a million Rohingyas in its land, despite all the resource constraints.

An global appeal for $951 million for humanitarian aid for the refugees and their host communities was only 10 per cent funded, he added.

The team said in March that it found evidence of human rights violations against the Kachin, Shan and Rohingya minorities "in all likelihood amounting to crimes under global law".