(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Kofi Annan has urged the UN Security Council to push Myanmar to accept the return of half-a-million Muslim Rohingas sheltering in Bangladesh. The former UN chief said otherwise a “festering problem” would remain.
Annan, whose commission recently compiled a report on the refugee crisis, told an informal Security Council meeting Friday that Myanmar's government must "create conditions that allow the refugees to return with dignity.”
Refugees sheltering in neighboring Bangladesh needed assistance to "get their homes back” and should not be returned to camps, Annan insisted.
Over the last weeks, more than 500,000 people, mostly Rohingyas, have fled Myanmar's Rakhine state into Bangladesh, escaping what the UN's Human Rights Office said were "systematic” attacks by Myanmar security forces.
Annan urged the Security Council Friday to agree with Myanmar on a "roadmap” and warned that if safe conditions for returns were not created the world community would be stuck with a very serious, long term "festering” problem.
Myanmar's military on Friday said it had launched an internal probe into troop responses to August's insurgency by the Rohingya militia, but insisted the sweep had been justified under Myanmar's Buddhist-majority constitution.
Civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Thursday that she had formed a committee to oversee international and local assistance in Rakhine.
Co-chairing Friday's Security Council meeting, French ambassador Francois Delattre said the briefing with Annan should have helped to overturn "the totally unacceptable status quo.”
Myanmar's Buddhist majority typically regards the Asian nation's roughly one million Rohingya as having migrated illegally from Bangladesh, although many have lived in Myanmar for generations.
Rohingya were stripped of their citizenship in 1982. About 120,000 live in camps outside Rakhine's capital, Sittwe, following earlier waves of displacement.