UN Security Council Team Visits Northern Rakhine State

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UN Security Council Team Visits Northern Rakhine State

The recent spate of violence in northern Rakhine erupted in August a year ago when fighters of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) launched simultaneous attacks on government outposts, triggering a fierce counter-offensive by security forces.

Both the U.N. and United States have said that the campaign, which forced almost 700,000 Rohingya to flee to safety in Bangladesh, amounted to ethnic cleansing.

"The United States is deeply grateful to the government of Bangladesh for its generous humanitarian response to the Rohingya crisis", the US President said. She stressed the importance of Bangladesh officials using the designated forms agreed upon by both countries as early as possible for verification, it said. That investigation led to a U.S. declaration of genocide and the imposition of economic sanctions against the Sudanese government, the news agency said.

Following global pressure, Myanmar signed an agreement with Bangladesh last November for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Rakhine state. The program was slated to begin in late January but has been beset by delays.

Unless the government of Myanmar gives the Rohingya their denied citizenship rights, there will be little progress.

"It is very important to improve the security conditions for the return of the refugees [and] also improve cooperation with worldwide organizations, particularly the United Nations", said Security Council President Gustavo Meza-Cuadra.

At a news conference in Myanmar's capital, Naypyitaw, before flying out of the country, the ambassadors reminded Myanmar's government of its obligations as a member of the United Nations.

In Kachin and Shan states Australia's support would help protect families fleeing violence.

An estimated 500,000 Rohingya people remaining behind in Myanmar are in need of humanitarian relief.

"We believe that if the memorandum of understanding can be signed quickly and the U.N. agencies given unconditional access, that would be the best thing to do with the scale of the problem", said Karen Pierce, Britain's ambassador to the United Nations. "Even if it takes a long time, we need to start on that".

She said this during her meet with Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, President, UNSC delegation, at her official residence.

This comes barely a month after Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli's three-day visit to India in April. They are a member of the United Nations and they are a member and state party to many U.N. conventions. She welcomed the opportunity to discuss the situation in Rakhine State with them.

Daw Khin Nyo, a Lower House lawmaker and member of the Advisory Board on Rakhine State who met with the delegation on Monday, told The Irrawaddy the delegation accused the government of deliberately putting off the repatriation of Muslim refugees and raised questions about the difficulty of the repatriation procedures.

Before August 2017, there were already more than 300,000 Rohingya refugees living in camps, makeshift settlements and with host communities, who had previously fled following similar waves of violence against them.

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