UN Secretary General's call
We are heartened by the UN Secretary General's categorical condemnation of what he has termed a "humanitarian nightmare" referring to the unbelievable trauma experienced by Rohingyas who have fled to Bangladesh to escape indescribable violence. In line with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's five-point solution to the crisis that she placed at the UN General Assembly, the UN Secretary General called for an immediate end to Myanmar's military operations and immediate humanitarian aid access to areas affected by the violence.
We appreciate the candour of the SG in highlighting the atrocities committed against the Rohingyas that include indiscriminate firing, the use of landmines and sexual violence against civilians. The urgency of international intervention cannot be emphasized enough. The stories of mass killings, gang rapes and torture keep pouring in as fleeing Rohingyas give testimonials of the violence they have suffered. The bodies of at least 20 Rohingyas drowned at sea on Wednesday while trying to reach Bangladesh are haunting examples of their desperate situation. The UNSG has rightly warned that the violence could spread to the central Rakhine where 250,000 more people were at risk of being displaced. In fact, he has rightly alluded to the fact that the crisis has serious implications for neighbouring states and the region. This includes inter-communal strife and the possibility of rising radicalism resulting from decades-old discrimination against the Rohingyas.
It is reassuring to see that more and more countries are joining in the call for Myanmar to end the crisis. But Myanmar's stubborn resistance in allowing humanitarian access is concerning and gives rise to fears that more Rohingyas will be targeted. International pressure to stop the violence, grant humanitarian access and ensure the return of Rohingyas to their country with full citizenship rights, has to be kept up. Most of all, the world must ensure that those Rohingyas who return must be guaranteed security and dignity as our Prime Minister has insisted upon at the UN General Assembly.