UNSC envoys hear of rapes, murders from Rohingya refugees

UNSC envoys hear of rapes, murders from Rohingya refugees

The 24-strong delegation representing all five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members of the council (UNSC) visited refugees camped out in a no-man's land along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border and later stopped by the sprawling Kutupalong refugee camp in southeastern Cox's Bazar district, where Rohingya staged a loud and emotional demonstration.

Thousands of Rohingya Muslims on Sunday gathered at a camp in Bangladesh to welcome a UN Security Council team that is getting a first-hand look at the plight of refugees who have fled military-led violence in Myanmar.

He said the team will return to Dhaka, the capital, on Sunday and is expected to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday morning before leaving for Myanmar.

The Rohingya refugees arrived at the location, holding several posters and demanding safe repatriation back to Myanmar. "We want justice from them", he said.

"Myanmar should act in accordance with the agreement they have signed with Bangladesh (regarding the repatriation of the Rohingyas)", she said.

"It's very necessary to come and see everything at place here in Bangladesh and Myanmar".

"But there is no magic solution, there is no magic stick to solve all these issues".

Bangladesh and Myanmar signed an agreement late a year ago to return the Muslim refugees.

The U.S., Britain, the United Nations and others described the operation as ethnic cleansing of the minority mainly Muslim Rohingya, a charge Myanmar denies.

"We told them that we're staying here to save our lives".

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Some of the Muslim refugees broke down in tears as they told harrowing stories of murder and rape in mainly Buddhist Myanmar.

It is unlikely to lead to any stronger council action against Burma as allies China and Russian Federation, who each carry veto power on the council, are expected to resist any tougher measures, such as sanctions or the referral of the situation to the International Criminal Court.

"When we go back to NY we will consider, we will try to explore to speed up the implementation of the agreement ...for safe, free and voluntary and dignified return of the refugees", he said. They will also take a helicopter flight over Rakhine to see the remains of villages torched during the violence. Some were in tears and spoke of rape, murder and other atrocities committed by Myanmar security forces.

The violence in Burma began when Rohingya insurgents staged a series of attacks on August 25 on about 30 security outposts and other targets.

The visit to Myanmar will be very important, Yan Myo Thein, a political analyst told RFA's Myanmar Service.

The U.N. refugee agency and Bangladesh recently finalized a memorandum of understanding that said the repatriation process must be "safe, voluntary and dignified.in line with global standards".

United Nations officials from Switzerland, Jordan, Egypt, US, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados are also with the delegation.

In November past year, the Security Council strongly condemned the government-sanctioned violence against Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya minority in a unanimously-backed statement.

Reported by BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service.

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