Dhaka, 17 July 2018: United Nations Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener conducted her first official visit to Bangladesh from 14 to 16 July. In Dhaka, she met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Director General of the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence, Major General Md. Saiful Abedin, Foreign Secretary Md. Shahidul Haque, the diplomatic community, and the UN country team. In Cox’s Bazar, she held discussions with the population in the Kutupalong camp, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Mohammad Abul Kalam, and Senior Coordinator Sumbul Rizvi and the members of the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG). She is grateful for the work of the humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organisations in the challenging environment.
Following the joint visit of the Secretary-General and the President of the World Bank to Bangladesh earlier this month, the Special Envoy discussed the plight of the Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar and expressed her sincere appreciation to the Government and people of Bangladesh, in particular the host communities, for the efforts to accept and provide assistance to the people seeking refuge from violence. The Special Envoy underlined the need for greater international assistance to the refugees and host communities in addressing the harsh conditions they continue to face and also in terms of mitigating the risk of monsoons. Continue reading
I am pleased to present my end of mission statement as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar. Thank you for your attendance and the opportunity to address you this afternoon.
Since December 2017, the Myanmar Government has not allowed me to visit Myanmar to carry out my work mandated by the Human Rights Council. Following renewal of my mandate in March, I had also requested the Government of India to facilitate a visit to India so I could meet with Myanmar refugees in New Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and Mizoram, but received no response.
Before I proceed further, let me take this opportunity to thank the Government of Bangladesh for always welcoming me and facilitating my visit. The UN entities in Bangladesh, particularly the Resident Coordinator’s Office, have been extremely helpful in facilitating my visit, and I am grateful to the Inter Sector Coordination Group and those who provided support in Cox’s Bazar. As the Government denied my access to Myanmar, I was only able to meet people in Bangladesh, the neighbouring country that hosts over one million refugees from Myanmar. In Dhaka, I met with Government, UN agencies and INGOs, and in Cox’s Bazar I met Rohingya refugees in a number of camps and settlements as well as the Government, UN, humanitarian and protection actors and NGOs. I also thank the UN Country Team in Myanmar for speaking with me. I took many photos of what I saw, and will upload them on Flickr, the link will be on my Special Rapporteur webpage. Continue reading
SG: Ladies and gentlemen of the media, a very good evening, and thank you very much for your presence.
I have been, in the past, twice in North Rakhine State. So, I was perfectly aware that the Rohingyas’ world can remain one of the most if not the most discriminated community in our planet.
I remember visiting their villages, they couldn’t move from the villages without permission. They couldn’t marry without permission. They were harassed by the police, by the administration; very limited access to education and to health services; an extremely, extremely discriminated community that’s stateless; that had no nationality. Nationality being rejected by the Government of Myanmar and that had not even a country that could call theirs. Even if, of course, they live in Myanmar and they felt themselves as Myanmarese citizens.
But knowing that, and knowing that what has happened with the reasons why such a large number of people fled the country was a series of atrocities that have difficult parallels in recent history.
Mass killings, gang rapes, torture, villages razed to the ground, burned. Even knowing all that, it is impossible to go to their to the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, the biggest refugee camp in the world, without feeling our heart completely broken. With the testimony of the women, children and men that we meet, when they tell us the story of their tremendous suffering and the horrible discrimination.
1 July Sunday, Dhaka: On mission in Bangladesh, the Secretary-General praised the country for keeping its borders open and receiving those in need of international protection.
“In a world where so many borders are closed, [the people and Government of Bangladesh] have opened their borders and received their brothers and sisters coming from Myanmar and from the terrible events there,” said Mr. Guterres in the capital Dhaka on Sunday.
Mr. Guterres noted the progress made by Bangladesh since its independence and highlighted the country’s integration of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into its national planning frameworks, as an “example that many others can follow.”
He called for greater political will to realize the commitments made through the 2015 Paris climate change agreement and urged countries to raise their ambition to limit temperature rises.
The Secretary-General and the World Bank Group President also visited the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum which was the house of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahaman, the first President of Bangladesh and father of the current Prime Minister. He and other members of his family were assassinated there in August 1975 by a group of soldiers.
Later in the evening, the Secretary-General and his delegation were hosted for an official dinner by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Continue reading
It is impossible to visit these camps without breaking our hearts with the suffering of the Rohingya people.
First of all, listening to the terrible stories of massive violence – of killings, of rape, of torture, of house or villages burnt – it is probably one of the most tragic stories in relation to the systematic violation of human rights.
I was in North Rakhine State twice in my past capacity as High Commissioner for Refugees, I have no doubt that the Rohingya people have always been one of, if not the, most discriminated people in the world, without any recognition of the most basic rights starting by the recognition of the right of citizenship by their own country – Myanmar.
But, on the other hand, it is also terrible for us to see more than 900,000 people living in these terrible circumstances. When I see the young boys and girls, I remember my own grand-daughters and I imagine what it would be see my grand-daughters living in these conditions.
It is unacceptable that these people who have suffered so much in Myanmar now have to live in the difficult circumstances that these camps inevitably represent. And so, I believe we need to combine a word of deep gratitude to the Government and people of Bangladesh for the fact that they have opened their borders when so many other borders are closed in the world. They have received so generously these people and have provided them with basic protection and support. Continue reading