UN Security Council plans to visit Bangladesh, Myanmar

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Rohingya children wait for food handouts distributed by an aid agency at Thaingkhali refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar on October 21, 2017, Photo: AP.
  • Assistant sec-gen for humanitarian affairs off to Myanmar 

The UN Security Council has got the go-ahead signal to visit Myanmar and Bangladesh this month, when it expects to focus on the beleaguered Rohingya Muslim minority, as well as to Iraq.

The details and timing of the separate visits are being worked out, Peru’s UN Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, also the council president for April, told reporters on Monday.

Rohingya children wait for food handouts distributed by an aid agency at Thaingkhali refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar on October 21, 2017, Photo: AP.

He said the council members hope to visit Myanmar’s western Rakhine state, where about 700,000 Rohingyas lived before fleeing to Bangladesh to escape a brutal military counterinsurgency campaign — and thousands still remain.

Meza-Cuadra said Iraq needs international support “for rebuilding the country and to ensure reconciliation” following “significant progress” in fighting terrorism, including the Islamic State extremist group.

He also noted that Iraqi elections are scheduled in May.

Meanwhile, the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ursula Mueller left for Myanmar on Monday, where she will be for a week.

The purpose of the mission is to observe first-hand the impact of the crisis in Rakhine State and the conflict in Kachin and Shan states, and to discuss ways to improve the humanitarian response, said spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric.

Her mission will include meetings in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, as well as field visits, according to a message UNB received from UN headquarters.

During her stay in Myanmar, Mueller is expected to meet people impacted by the humanitarian crises, senior government officials, and humanitarian partners.

Following this, on Sunday, she will travel to Indonesia to attend the Asean-UN Annual Regional Meeting.

Ottawa’s special envoy to Myanmar is scheduled to release a report on Tuesday urging Canada to express willingness to welcome Rohingya refugees and implement sanctions against those responsible for the ongoing humanitarian crisis, according to people familiar with the document.

The special envoy’s report addresses ‘strong signals’ that crimes against humanity have been committed in the country, reports CTVNews.

AP

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