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Bangladesh seeks accountability for Rohingya atrocities

DHAKA, Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s leader appealed to UN member states Friday to ensure that those in Myanmar who are committing human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims are held accountable. 

“The international community must ensure accountability for human rights violations and atrocities perpetrated against Rohingya in Rakhine state,” said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina while addressing the 74th UN General Assembly in New York.

Terming the Rohingya crisis Myanmar’s internal issue, she added: “Myanmar must manifest a clear political will for the safe, sustainable and dignified return of Rohingya.”

As in previous years, Hasina delivered the statement in Bangla and submitted a four-point proposal to solve the Rohingya crisis and speed up the repatriation process of the persecuted people.

The proposal also includes repealing the 1982 Citizenship Act of Myanmar which disqualified Rohingya as citizens of the country so that they feel confident to return home.

Hasina also proposed that the authorities in Myanmar arrange a tour for representatives of the Rohingya to Rakhine state so they can assess whether they would agree to return. She said without the presence of international representatives, the Rohingya would be afraid to accompany the Myanmar authorities out of fear for their safety.

Expressing concern that Rohingya refugees have remained in Bangladesh for more than two years following the August 2017 crackdown by Myanmar’s military that prompted 750,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh, with their numbers now reaching more than 1.1 million, Hasina blamed Myanmar for failing to create a conducive environment there.

“Until now, not a single Rohingya has returned to their home country due to Myanmar’s failure to develop a secure and sound environment in Rakhine state,” she added.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed, more than 34,000 were thrown into fires and over 114,000 others were beaten by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

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