Suu Kyi seeks new relationship with UN over Rohingya crisis
Published: 07:09 PM, 28 April 2018
Aung San Suu Kyi hopes to restore her battered reputation by allowing UN human rights and development organizations to enter Myanmar to prepare the ground for the large-scale return of Rohingya Muslims.
Her aides hope the offer, linked to internal political changes strengthening her position and the appointment of a UN special envoy for the crisis, can mark a turning point in her relations with the international community.
Nearly 700,000 Rohingya in Myanmar since a military crackdown began last August, joining an estimated 200,000 who have sought shelter in Bangladesh over the past few decades.
In a highly unusual move, senior diplomats from each of the 15 UN security council member states will travel to Bangladesh and Myanmar, starting on Saturday.
The ambassadors will visit refugee camps in Bangladesh before meeting Aung San Suu Kyi and going by helicopter to Rakhine state, the centre of what the UN has.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s allies are hoping she can convince the diplomats that an agreement on the introduction of UN organizations into Rakhine can help speed up the of thousands of internally displaced people and refugees in the Bangladeshi camps.
But the UN high commissioner for refugees has recently said conditions in Myanmar are not yet “conducive for the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of refugees”, and said the responsibility remains with the government to change this.
The refugees say they need assurances from Myanmar about concrete progress over their legal status, citizenship and security in Rakhine.
The ambassadors, including the UK envoy to the UN, Karen Pierce, will visit Rakhine. They are likely to push for progress on the approximately 8,000 refugees who have said they want to return to northern Rakhine but have so far been prevented from doing so by the government.
The election last month of Win Myint, a close ally of Aung San Suu Kyi, as president is seen as having strengthened her position.
Myanmar’s constitution prevents Aung San Suu Kyi from being president as her children are foreign nationals, but she has been appointed state counsellor, a position above that of the president.
Peter Maurer, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is providing aid to those affected by the violence in Rakhine, said the Myanmar government was rebuilding villages and taking steps to allow the Rohingya to return.
Aung San Suu Kyi has privately welcomed the decision of the UN secretary general, António Guterres, to appoint Switzerland’s ambassador to Germany, Christine Schraner Burgener, as special envoy on Myanmar.
Source: The Guardian
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