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No Magic Solution : UN, After Visiting Rohingya Camps

There is no magic solution to the Rohingya crisis, the visiting United Nations’ Security Council (UNSC) delegation said yesterday after paying a much-anticipated visit to refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar

All 15 members of the delegation agreed that it is “a severe crisis”, but deputy Russian ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy, whose country has supported Myanmar, warned that the council did not have a “magic wand” to resolve what is now one of the world’s worst refugee crises

“We are not looking away from this crisis, we are not closing our eyes,” the Russian diplomat told reporters at a briefing in Ukhia upazila

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

Hundreds of Rohingya staged a demonstration yesterday as the UN envoys visited the camps Some of the Muslim refugees broke down in tears as they told the ambassadors harrowing stories of murder and rape in Myanmar The demonstrators waved placards demanding justice for atrocities against the refugees until they were dispersed by police, according to AFP

Senior diplomats from the 15-member Security Council – including permanent members the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France – arrived in Bangladesh on Saturday for a four-day visit to the campsThey will go on to Myanmar, where they are to meet civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi

After the camp visit yesterday, they were taken to a briefing room where the local administration of Cox’s Bazar and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) debriefed them on the crisis that Bangladesh has been handling since August last year

Rohingya refugees flocked to meet the at Kutupalong camp, wielding posters and demanding safe repatriation back to Myanmar

So far, at least 700,000 Rohingya people have fled Myanmar since violence escalated following a military crackdown in Rakhine state in August last year

The exodus prompted atrocities including arson, torture, gang rape, murder and massacre The heavy-handed nature of the Myanmar military’s “clearance operation”, which followed a series of attack on its security outposts in the areas, claimed thousands of lives The UN human rights body reported recently that there were elements of ethnic cleansing in Rakhine State, and it has previously called on the Security Council to hold an independent inquiry into possible genocide against the Rohingya

The UN Security Council visit is being held in high esteem, because Bangladesh hopes it will lend assistance towards repatriating the mass population of Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar

The Rohingya crisis is Myanmar’s internal problem imposed on Bangladesh, Bangladesh’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam told Security Council members when they met after the camp visit

Debriefing the 15-member delegation at Ukhia, Cox’s Bazar, the junior minister said, “The solution to this problem lies in Myanmar It is Myanmar’s internal conflict, forced on to the shoulder of BangladeshThe problem has come from there and the solution lies there as well”

Bangladesh reached an agreement with Myanmar in November last year to repatriate thousands of nearly one million refugees to Rakhine However, the plan was delayed as Nay Pyi Taw failed to show readiness to provide a safe and sound return for the refugees The Rohingya community in the refugee camps and around the world also resisted the plan, asking for safety guarantees before any repatriation

The Bangladesh government has urged the visiting UN Security Council delegation to keep pressure on the Myanmar government to speed up the repatriation process and to recognise the Rohingya situation as a crisis

The delegation agreed to continue its pressure on the Myanmar government and help find an amicable solution to the humanitarian crisis, three high officials, who attended a meeting held at a hotel in Cox’s Bazar Saturday evening, told The Daily Star requesting anonymity

While the UN has been active on the Royingya crisis, Asean – of which Myanmar is also a member – said after a summit in Singapore over the weekend that the regional group would limit its involvement in the matter to humanitarian assistance

The group urged Myanmar to continue to implement the recommendations of the final report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine state It also welcomed the establishment of the advisory board that has been led in an individual capacity by the former Thai deputy prime minister and foreign minister Surakiart Sathirathai

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