Rohingya refugees demand justice as United Nations visits Burma, Bangladesh

Rohingya refugees demand justice as United Nations visits Burma, Bangladesh

Rohingya refugees demand justice as United Nations visits Burma, Bangladesh

This was the first UN Security Council delegation to visit Dhaka and the camps in Cox's Bazar since Bangladesh experienced a massive influx of Rohingya refugees last August.

The diplomats, made up of representatives from the five permanent Security Council members - China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States - and 10 non-permanent member states, talked to some 120 refugees, including some who claimed to be rape victims.

Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of mainly Buddhist Myanmar, has been pilloried overseas for her failure to speak up for the Muslim Rohingya or publicly condemn the army for driving them out of the country.

Myanmar has faced intense worldwide pressure over the military clampdown against the Rohingya launched last August that the United Nations has called "ethnic cleansing".

Kuwait's Ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi said the visit was not about "naming and shaming" Myanmar, but that "the message will be very clear for them: the worldwide community is following the situation and has great interest in resolving it". They carried signs, some of which said "We want justice".

He stressed the importance of direct engagement, which "sends a very strong signal to those in Myanmar, both the civilian but more importantly military authorities who have been responsible largely for what we've seen, which has been ethnic cleansing and nothing short of that".

Today, representatives from the UN Security Council will meet with the government of Myanmar as part of a four-day trip to evaluate the Rohingya crises.

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

Meanwhile, the arrival of pre-monsoon rains in southern Bangladesh has revealed an alarming level of risks for Rohingya refugees, United Nations humanitarian agencies said recently, warning that they do not have the funds needed to protect hundreds of thousands of desperate people once the rainy season begins in earnest.

Myanmar security forces were accused of rape, murder, torture and setting Rohingya homes on fire.

"It may take some time but we'd like to hear from the government of Myanmar how they wish to work with the worldwide community", she said.

Wounded Rohingya refugees walk with the help of crutches at the Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp.

IOM's Senior Operations Coordinator in Cox's Bazar (where thousands Rohingya Muslims are putting up) John McCue, said, "We can not wait for funding to come in after the Emergency is over and possibly preventable tragedies have occurred".

He said he lost a brother, an uncle and a nephew after Myanmar soldiers shot them dead.

Pierce praised Bangladesh for their support of the Rohingya community, saying they have "saved thousands of Rohingya lives".

"How one goes about that, the prominence that one gives to the individual government, particularly the Burmese government, tends to be what divides the council and that's the old sovereignty versus human rights debate", she said. "They should listen to us", he said.

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