A delegation of the United Nations Security Council on Saturday began a three-day visit to Bangladesh to observe firsthand the condition of the Rohingya Muslims who fled Myanmar after a violent military crackdown last year, AP reported. The delegation will also visit Myanmar on Tuesday.
The team comprises representatives from the 15 member states of the Security Council. After visiting refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, the team will meet Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi. They will also travel to the Rakhine state in Myanmar, where most Rohingya Muslims lived.
Myanmar’s allies Russia and China – both permanent members with the veto power in the Security Council – have shown resistance to the involvement of the world body in the refugee crisis.
“We care because we are here, but the United Nations is not limited to the Security Council,” Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Dmitry Polyanskiy, told Reuters. “The threat of raising this issue in the Security Council shouldn’t be used as a leverage for the Myanmar government to cooperate.”
Bangladesh’s acting Foreign Secretary M Khurshed Alam said the visit is “very significant”. “This council can make a difference by putting pressure on Myanmar and creating a situation to start the repatriation in full swing,” he told AP. “It has that influence.”
Lakhs of Rohingya Muslims have fled from Rakhine to neighbouring Bangladesh since August 2017, after security forces began a violent crackdown against the community. The United Nations and the United States have called it “ethnic cleansing”, and Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi has faced widespread criticism for not doing enough to stop the persecution.