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Kofi Annan Urged UNSC to Push Myanmar for Rohingya Return to their Homes

Annan warned that if safe conditions for returns were not created “the world community would be stuck with a very serious, long-term festering problem.”

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Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, whose commission recently compiled a report on Rohingya crisis, told the Security Council on 13 October to “push the Myanmar government to allow the Rohingya refugees sheltered in Bangladesh to return home in safety and with dignity.”

After he had briefed the Security Council on Friday while speaking to reporters, Annan said that the returning refugees should not be sent to camps in Myanmar, but to their homes, IANS reported.

The current crisis in Myanmar has worsened since the August 25 attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on the Myanmar security. More than half a million civilians have fled their homes and sought safety in Bangladesh following the military operations (happening now) which the United Nations has called ‘a textbook example of ethnic cleansing’.

Although the total number of those displaced is unknown, it is estimated that 94 percent of them are Rohingya, UN report.

Annan urged the Security Council to agree with Myanmar on a roadmap and warned that if safe conditions for returns were not created “the world community would be stuck with a very serious, long-term festering problem.”

Earlier in a statement on September 28, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had called upon the Myanmar authorities to immediately end the military operations while allowing unfettered access to humanitarian support and to ensure the safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return of the refugees to their areas of origin.

Guterres appealed to the leaders of Myanmar, including military leaders, to condemn incitement to racial hatred and violence, and take all measures to defuse tensions between communities.

France and Britain are for strong action against Myanmar government, however, have not come up with even a Council Resolution against its military action because the UN missions from China and Russia, being veto powers did not comment on the diplomatic move.

Permanent Representatives of France and Britain in the Security Council, Francois Delattre and Matthew Rycroft respectively have called on the members of the Council for acting against the ongoing military action on the Rohingya and urged for creating conditions for their return.

Revision of the Myanmar citizenship legislation in the line of international standards was also considered by UN. The current legislation doesn’t grant full nationality to the Muslims of Rakhine state.

It has been reported that Myanmar's military on Friday said it had launched an internal probe into troop responses to August's insurgency by the Rohingya militia, but insisted the sweep had been justified under Myanmar's Buddhist-majority constitution.

(with inputs from IANS)

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