73rd UN General Assembly: Dhaka to call for action on Rohingya issue
Bangladesh plans to raise the Rohingya issue in the upcoming 73rd UN General Assembly and urge the international community to unite and mount more pressure on Myanmar to resolve the lingering crisis.
Diplomatic sources say it is time the international community asked Myanmar to end all practices that led to the crisis and create conditions for the safe return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas who have fled the country since a military crackdown in August 2017.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will leave for New York on September 21 to attend and deliver a speech in the UNGA session. She is expected to place fresh proposals and Bangladesh's demand for early repatriation of over one million forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals as well as implementation of the Kofi Annan Commission's recommendations to resolve the Rohingya crisis.
The opening of the 73rd session of UNGA will formally begin on September 18.
The UK has intended to host a "high-level meeting of ministers" at the upcoming UNGA.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Jeremy Hunt, British secretary of state for foreign affairs, said the UK is to "take a stand" and push for military leaders in Myanmar to be "brought to justice" over claims of genocide.
Hunt told MPs that the perpetrators of appalling crimes against the Rohingyas "must be brought to justice". He said he would urge foreign ministers at the UN to refer the leadership to the International Criminal Court.
The UK had a "special responsibility to act", he said and confirmed he would launch a diplomatic effort on the matter later this month.
"Ethnic cleansing in whatever shape or form, wherever it happens, should never go unpunished and the perpetrators of these appalling crimes must be brought to justice," Hunt said.
"There was gang rape, assaults on children, villages razed, and, in northern Rakhine, mass extermination and mass deportations.
"This is the kind of issue where countries that believe in civilised values have to take a stand and make sure that justice is done."
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat on Wednesday held a meeting with Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque where they discussed the Rohingya issue with special focus on the upcoming UNGA.
As Bangladesh is trying to move the Rohingya issue in UNGA, Dhaka expects that the US will go for a comprehensive action against Myanmar military.
Apart from raising the issue in the UNGA session, Dhaka would continue its efforts to put international pressure on Myanmar to ensure secured repatriation of the Rohingya refugees, who have taken shelter in Bangladesh, foreign ministry officials said.
The Rohingya issue might get prominence in the upcoming UNGA with the latest report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar that urged for investigation and prosecution of the top military generals for genocide as well as for crimes against humanity and war crimes in Rakhine State.
The Mission established by the UN Human Rights Council in March 2017 has found patterns of gross human rights violation and abuse committed in Kachin, Rakhine and Shan states that "undoubtedly amount to the gravest crimes under international law", principally by Myanmar's military.
A fuller report, containing factual information and legal analysis, will be published and presented to the Human Rights Council on September 18. It will include a significant amount of satellite imagery analysis.
The Fact-Finding Mission report said the UN Security Council should ensure all perpetrators are held accountable, preferably by referring Myanmar to the International Criminal Court or by creating an ad hoc tribunal.
In the UNGA, foreign ministry officials said the EU would continue to intensify its efforts to strengthen the respect for international humanitarian law, as well as refugee law and international human rights law, supporting full, prompt, impartial and effective investigations in case of violation.