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Rohingya repatriation

UN special rapporteur questions transparency about MoU

FE Report | July 09, 2018 00:00:00

UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Professor Yanghee Lee, on Sunday questioned the transparency of UN as it failed to give her a copy of the MoU signed between UN and Myanmar on Rohingya repatriation.

Prof Yanghee said a few weeks after hearing the news of signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the government of Myanmar, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), she sent a request to the government of Myanmar through its Permanent Mission in Geneva seeking a copy of the agreement.

"They did not provide me with a copy but instead shared with me a summary that was prepared by one of the UN agencies. Over the last three weeks, I also made requests in person to senior officials of the United Nations, who despite promises, have not shared a copy of the MoU with me," a visibly frustrated Lee said while addressing a press conference in the city.

"I expressed my dismay at the Human Rights Council over the lack of transparency on 27 of June. While I am not aware of the exact terms of the MoU, I am extremely concerned that it has been kept secret, including by the United Nations agencies involved, and urge the parties to make it public," she added.

It may be mentioned that the MoU signed between UN and Myanmar aroused controversy as it was alleged that the UN compromised with the demands of the Rohingyas in the text by allowing Myanmar to term them as 'Bengali Muslims' instead of 'Rohingyas'.

She reiterated her call to try the persons responsible for carrying on atrocities against Rohingyas in Rakhine through investigation.

She also disclosed that Indian government did not response to her appeal to let her visit India to see the state of the Rohingya refugees who are staying there.

About her visit to the Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar, she said, she heard terrific stories of brutality by the Myanmar forces against the Rohingyas.

Such incidents of brutality are clear violations of human rights in Rakhine state, she said.

If the perpetrators are not punished, there will be repetition of such persecution against ethnic minorities, she observed.

Urging all including Bangladesh to provide Rohngyas with the status of refugees, she said, "The definition of refugees provided by the Article 1 of the 1951 Refugee Convention applies the refugees from Myanmar living in Bangladesh and other countries."

"The Rohingyas in Bangladesh fled Myanmar owing to a well-founded fear of persecution and as a result of ongoing persecution by the government and the military for reasons of their ethnicity, race and religion," she added.


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