United Nations delegation wraps up visits to Bangladesh, Myanmar

United Nations Security Council delegates arrive at Sittwe airport in western Myanmar's Rakhine state

ARSA launched attacks on Myanmar security forces in northern Rakhine in August a year ago.

The clashed initially broke out in 2011, the recent violence hints at another case of ethnic cleansing.

Still, the Security Council envoys flew over villages burned and razed by the Myanmar military, which destroyed evidence of what happened there and allowed the government to claim the land as its own.

Myanmar and Bangladesh have signed an agreement for the voluntary return of refugees who are eligible for repatriation pending verification. Transfers were due to begin in January but there have been repeated delays at Myanmar's end.

The recent spasm of violence in Myanmar began when Rohingya insurgents staged a series of attacks on August 25 on about 30 security outposts and other targets. Many have said they remain afraid to return.

"Basically the message we convey is it is very important to improve the security conditions for the return of the refugees, and also collaboration with the global organization, particularly the United Nations", said Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, ambassador of Peru.

"We want to see that happening soon".

At a news conference in Myanmar's capital, Naypyitaw, before flying out of the country, the ambassadors reminded Myanmar's government of its obligations as a member of the United Nations.

"Myanmar should act in accordance with the agreement they have signed with Bangladesh (regarding the repatriation of the Rohingyas)", she said.

In Kachin and Shan states Australia's support would help protect families fleeing violence.

As the largest humanitarian assistance donor in the world, the United States remains committed to supporting Bangladesh alongside their worldwide partners, he said.

"Their faces clearly showed that they didn't believe anything we said". "Even if it takes a long time, we need to start on that".

She said the delegation was unwilling to listen to Myanmar officials, and appeared unreasonably focused on unsubstantiated hearsay. She welcomed the opportunity to discuss the situation in Rakhine State with them.

The delegation also met some refugees who had returned from Bangladesh, the government of Rakhine state and civil representatives. "We need to find a new way because we are facing many hardships when it comes to solving problems". The issue of cross-border activities by certain insurgent groups may figure during talks between Swaraj and the Myanmarese leaders.

He also pointed out that numerous Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, already living in poor and crowded conditions, face further misery with the early onset on the monsoon season, with a strong risk of landslides and flooding.

Al-Otaibi stressed the necessity of United Nations involvement in the repatriation process and negotiations between Myanmar and the United Nations refugee agency on potential cooperation.

As requested by Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the Security Council will also help the government to implement the recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Commission led by former United Nations chief Kofi Annan. It seems that they have been swayed by the accounts of the other side. "We replied that we [ethnic Rakhine] are always careful and still have a relationship with them [Muslims] in the region". She did not say how she knew the refugees were Bangladeshis.

Before the dinner, the delegation members held talks with State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and military commander-in-chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing.

Before they began their two-day visit to Myanmar, the delegation members spent three days in Bangladesh visiting refugee camps and meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin. Translated by Khet Mar.

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