UN SECURITY COUNCIL MEMBERS MEET MYANMAR’S AUNG SAN SUU KYI

UNITED NATIONS, Members of the UN Security Council met on Monday with Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi to discuss the more than 1 million Rohingya refugees who have fled into neighboring Bangladesh, the chief UN spokesman said.

“The Security Council, as you know, has a mission that has been traveling in Asia,” Stephane Dujarric told reporters at UN Headquarters. “That team met this morning with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, in Dhaka,” the capital.

“Following that meeting, the Security Council delegation flew to Naypyidaw, the Myanmar capital, where it met with Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and with General Min Aung Hlaing, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces,” the spokesman said.

There was no word of what was discussed in the meetings, but a news conference was promised for Tuesday in the capital.

However, one of the objectives for the council was spelled out in a letter last week from the president of the council on the “terms of reference” for the trip.

Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra of Peru, this month’s president of the panel of 15, said the objective of the visit was compliance with a November 2016 council Presidential Statement.

That document called for protection of civilians and said the council “urges the Government of Myanmar to work with the Government of Bangladesh and the United Nations to allow the voluntary return of all refugees in conditions of safety and dignity to their homes in Myanmar.”

That was expressed as the main objective, at this point, ambassadors said before leaving UN Headquarters late last week.

“The council mission also met with civil society, parliamentarians and government representatives in the Myanmar capital,” Dujarric said.

“Tomorrow (Tuesday), the Security Council will fly to Rakhine State, where the delegation will meet with the local government and civil society,” he said. “They will visit Northern Rakhine State and then have a press conference upon returning to Naypyidaw.”

More than 670,000 ethnic Muslim Rohingya have fled northern Rakhine State since Aug. 25, 2017. On that date Rohingya activists are alleged to have carried out a deadly attack on security posts, prompting alleged retribution by Myanmar forces and vigilante groups.

The latest refugees joined hundreds of thousands of mainly Rohingya refugees who previously fled Myanmar across the border into neighboring Bangladesh.

Last week, Dujarric told reporters the number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh exceeded 1 million people.

Most of them are in the sprawling Kutupalong camp in the Cox’s Bazar region of extreme southern Bangladesh, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said, where they are bracing from flooding monsoon rains expected imminently.

The refugees have told UNHCR officials they were chased from their villages in northern Rakhine State — many of which were burned down– by marauding bands of killers and rapists, the agency said.

Source: NAM News Network