India 'deeply concerned over violence in Rakhine'
India's permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, Rajiv K Chander, yesterday said New Delhi was deeply concerned about the recent spate of violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state that resulted in the outflow of a large number of people from the state, many of whom sought shelter in neighbouring Bangladesh.
While presenting a vivid account of what led to the ongoing Rohingya crisis and how it can be resolved at the 36th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, he also said India extended humanitarian relief to Bangladesh to support it in meeting the needs of the refugees.
"We take note that this violence was triggered off by a series of terrorist attacks which led to loss of lives amongst the security forces as well as the civilian population," he said during the interactive dialogue session with Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar.
Subsequent operations by the Myanmar security forces in the State resulted in a large outflow of people. It is imperative that violence is ended and normalcy in the State is restored expeditiously through a solution based on respect for peace, communal harmony, justice, dignity and democratic values.
"We urge that the situation in Rakhine State be handled with restraint, focusing on the welfare of the civilian population," he added.
In the past, Myanmar has been tabling regular reports on internal developments at various UN bodies.
After the submission of the final Report of the Kofi Annan-led UN Special Advisory Commission for Rakhine State on August 24, 2017, the Myanmar government welcomed the "meaningful and long term solutions" proposed in the report and assured that it will give full consideration to its recommendations with a view to carrying them out to the fullest extent, and within the shortest time, Rajiv said.
Myanmar has also agreed to set out a roadmap for implementation of the recommendations, including immediate establishment of a new Ministerial led committee that would be assisted by an Advisory Board on Rakhine that will include Myanmar and international experts for implementation of the recommendations. The international community must extend full support to the Myanmar government in its efforts.
"There is a serious problem emerging in Bangladesh which is reportedly hosting over 300,000 refugees [latest estimate puts the figure at 421,000]. India has extended humanitarian relief to Government of Bangladesh to support it in meeting the needs of refugees. The role being played by Bangladesh in extending humanitarian assistance to the refugees deserves recognition," said the Indian diplomat.
It is apparent that the only long-term solution to the situation in Rakhine State is socio-economic and infrastructure development of the State. Such development would generate employment opportunities and economic activity that should have a positive impact on all the communities living in the State, he noted.
"It is with this understanding that we have recently agreed with Myanmar to provide financial and technical assistance for identified projects to be undertaken in Rakhine State in conjunction with the local authorities."
Specifically, there was agreement to undertake both infrastructure and socio-economic projects, particularly in the spheres of education, health, agriculture and allied activities, agro-processing, community development, construction of small bridges, upgradation of roads, small power projects, livelihood activity, setting up of training centres, promotion of household crafts, conservation of environment and cultural heritage.
"We are of the firm belief that the international community, including UN agencies, need to continue to engage constructively with the people and Government of Myanmar," Rajiv said.