Only a few weeks after it was revealed that the UN had suppressed a report highly critical of the conditions in Rakhine State, we find out that a UN World Food Programme report on hunger and starvation of the Rohingyas had also been shelved. According to the assessment conducted in July, over 80,000 children under the age of five in Rohingya-majority areas in Rakhine were “wasting”, reported The Guardian. What is most shocking, however, is that the report was shelved upon the request of the Myanmar government and a statement was issued saying Myanmar and WFP were working on a “revised version”.
Some of the alleged motives behind the suppression of the WFP report have left us at a loss for words. Apparently, by this, the UN sought to cover up cuts of WFP food aid for internally displaced Rohingyas and prevent damaging relations with the Myanmar government because millions of dollars in funding were at stake.
The WFP survey was conducted only a month prior to the beginning of an unprecedented influx of Rohingyas into Bangladesh. The report, if published, could perhaps have helped alleviate the situation in Rakhine State and attract international attention before the influx even began. By preventing its release, the UN essentially emboldened the Myanmar government to continue violating the rights of the minority.
When a respected institution like the UN—which has a singular role in maintaining world peace—resorts to such means, it is nothing short of a moral failure on its part. Given that the UN is at the forefront of the Rohingya crisis, it raises many questions about its intentions and resolve to bring the conflict to an end. A thorough inquiry and calling those responsible for such unwarranted action is necessary.