United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman has witnessed dozens of burned and destroyed villages of Rohingyas in the Rakhine state of Myanmar.
Besides, visiting internally displaced persons’ camps outside Sittwe, set up in 2012, he also witnessed how, in addition to the documented endemic discrimination against the Rohingya population, socio-economic challenges adversely affect all communities.
He shared his experience after concluding his five-day visit on October 17, according to a press note issued by the UN yesterday.
Feltman visited the communities affected by the recent violence in northern Rakhine state by air.
The latest satellite images of the HRW show at least 288 villages have been partially or fully destroyed by fire in Rakhine since August 25. At least 66 villages were burned after September 5, when security force operations supposedly ended.
According to latest statistics, 582,000 Rohingya refugees fled to Bangladesh following persecution by Myanmar in Rakhine state since then.
The top UN official has underscored the importance of accountability and non-discriminatory rule of law and public safety as part of the comprehensive approach needed to address the fears and distrust among communities in Rakhine.
Read more: Urgent need for fund, aid
“He witnessed how, in addition to the documented endemic discrimination against the Rohingya population, socio-economic challenges adversely affect all communities,” read the note.
Feltman noted the Government’s endorsement of the recommendations of the final report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State and urged their comprehensive implementation – which the UN can help support if so requested – the note added.
During his visit, he met State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Tatmadaw (the country’s armed forces) Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, among other officials, as well as with representatives of Myanmar’s civil society, the resident diplomatic community and representatives of international non-governmental organisations.
Read more: UN shelved hunger report on Rohingyas
Most of Feltman’s discussions focused on the situation in Rakhine state and the plight of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled to Bangladesh.
”He reiterated Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ call that humanitarian actors be given full and unhindered access to northern Rakhine state and that refugees be allowed a voluntary, safe and dignified return to their place of origin,” added the press note.