‘Myanmar’s precarious security situation causing delays in Rohingya repatriation’
Precarious security situation in Myanmar is causing delay in the repatriation of Rohingyas, said Bangladesh Permanent Representative to UN in New York, Ambassador Rabab Fatima.
"We remain concerned that the situation in Myanmar continues to remain unsafe for civilians, especially for the ethnic and religious minorities, such as the Rohingyas," she said at an open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict convened by the US delegation as the current president of the Council on Thursday (May 26, 2022).
About 750,000 Rohingyas fled Myanmar military crackdown in 2017 and took shelter in Bangladesh. Despite repeated efforts, none of the Rohingyas was repatriated as they fear security risks back in the Rakhine state. Myanmar military's takeover of power has further complicated the situation, with the military and civilians confronting with each other.
"Protection of civilians is an important national priority for Bangladesh, and we remain committed to all efforts to strengthen the protection of civilians," Rabab Fatima said.
She expressed concern that protection of civilians remains a serious challenge in the context of ongoing conflicts, protracted humanitarian crises and growing forced displacement, while humanitarian needs are soaring, access remains a major challenge.
Ambassador Fatima mentioned Bangladesh's commitment to protection of civilians, and the role its peacekeepers play in fulfilling this mandate.
"Nearly 7,000 peacekeepers from Bangladesh are serving in some of the most challenging missions, providing security at civilian sites, ensuring unhindered humanitarian services, supporting delivery of health and social services, community engagement and empowerment of women and youth," she added.
Unfortunately, the peacekeepers and the humanitarian workers are increasingly becoming targets of attacks, often fueled by misinformation and disinformation.
The ambassador suggested that the relevant UN entities develop effective communications strategies to combat such a phenomenon, while also equipping the peacekeeping missions with adequate resources to fulfil their mandate of protecting the civilians.
Ambassador Fatima also called for increased awareness on compliance of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict and also holding the perpetrators accountable.
"Targeting civilians, schools, hospitals, and humanitarian actors cannot be condoned under any pretext. These attacks must be investigated and accounted for," she added.
Bangladesh also called for strengthening national judicial mechanisms and, where necessary, supporting international accountability mechanisms, including in the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court.