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Myanmar Starts Haunting U.N. Like Bosnia Did

 

Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (UNIFEED - UN audio visual library)

Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (UNIFEED – UN audio visual library)

By Erol Avdović (WEBPUBLICAPRESS) UNITED NATIONS – Asked about UN Secretary-General’s next step or possible recommendation to the Security Council on ethnic cleansing of Rohingya in Myanmar, the chief United Nations spokesman told Webpublicapress (WPP) “the components of the international community have different part to play.”

“Obviously, it’s important for the authorities in Myanmar to grant us access to… for humanitarian workers and human rights workers in northern Rakhine, to see a halt to the military activities,” said Stephane Dujarric.

“We would also like to ensure that the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, as well as their hosting communities, are fully supported by the international community and,” he added.

Catastrophe continues

And he emphasized that, “as always, the unity of Security Council is obviously vital.”

Weather the UN chief still think the situation is “catastrophic” in Myanmar when it comes to abuse of Rohingya Muslim minority, as Mr. Guterres stated before, his spokesperson said “for the Secretary‑General the situation has not changed.”

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said, as Dujarric pointed out – they are “increasingly worried about the deterioration of the overall protection environment in which Rohingya refugees are living in Bangladesh.”

Filippo Grandi High Commissioner for UNHCR (Courtesy UNHCR photo)

Filippo Grandi High Commissioner for UNHCR (Courtesy UNHCR photo)

Recently‑arrived Rohingya are facing additional hardship as cooler temperatures are arriving in the winter months ahead.  UNHCR said – particularly vulnerable are children – accounted for 55 per cent of the Rohingya refugee population; since August 2017, almost 700.000 escaped Myanmar to Bangladesh.

UN says at present, “a steady but smaller number of refugees continue to cross from Myanmar, some 100 a day.”

The UN and the Secretary-General are very concern about further developments in Myanmar, but as it proved before in the similar situations – also to offten impotent to offer more than strong words. In addition, diplomats say most UN Security Council members are either willing to look away or simply “claim helplessness” – turning their faces away from hot spots areas.

Turning the blind eye

And, Myanmar and the plight of the Rohingya has similarities to the genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said former Bosnian Foreign Minister and ambassador to the UN, Muhamed Sacirbay.

But there are also two critical differences, he claimed.

Muhamed Sacirbey first ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations in New York, 1992 (Photo archive WPP)

Muhamed Sacirbey first ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations in New York, 1992 (Photo archive WPP)

“We, Bosnia and Herzegovina had our government to defend the targeted populations from genocide while in this instance the Burmese Regime, regardless of the rhetoric of change, has not only failed to protect but appears to be instigator and perpetrator,” Sacirbey told WPP.

He said the situation in Myanmar, unlike in Bosnia in the war from 1992 to 1995, does not have the characteristic of an international aggression (like it was by Serbian forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina) but is rather “crimes against humanity” whether committed by rouge elements or the Regime in Myanmar.The similarities also “reflect the delays,” which are, as ambassador Sacirbey said – “in effect avoidance by the international community to respond affirmatively as is the obligation under the Genocide Convention, and as was the casein in Darfur (South Sudan).”

Some diplomats think, including former Bosnian Foreign Minister Sacirbey, who said so – the UN Security Council not only has the option – but affirmative obligation to confront the genocide anywhere including Myanmar.

And, this probably necessitates Chapter 7 action, whether sanctions and/or a protective force, like UNPROFOR (UN forces) in Former Yugoslavia in 1990-tes.

Irony and delay

“Unfortunately the UN, as was the case with Bosnia and Herzegovina, hasbecome the place on whose doorstep ‘problems from hell’ (which is the title of famous book by US ambassador Samantha Power – dedicated to Bosnia and Rwanda) are dropped off, particularly by the P-5 (Permanent five members of the UN Security Council: US, UK, France, Russia and China), as means to disperse, obfuscate and thus avoid more direct, decisive response,” former Bosnian ambassador to UN said.

Even the term “ethnic cleansing” which was pronounced by UN Commissioner Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, who said it represent its school example in Myanmar – did not ease situation for those who suffer.

“It is intended to minimize the challenge and crime by not using the legal term

Muhamed Sacirbey former UN ambassador and foreign minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Courtesy author's photo - for education only)

Muhamed Sacirbey former UN ambassador and foreign minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Courtesy author’s photo – for education only)

genocide, again very similar to Bosnia where (Radovan) Karadzic and (Ratko) Mladic (Bosnian Serbs indicted war criminals at the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia – ICTY) improvised the term “ethnic cleansing, thinking that such did not sound as bad, perhaps even appropriate, when applied on “Muslims,” ambassador Sacirbey said.

He said the culpability of the Myanmar regime and its officials “should be referred to the ICC (International Criminal Court).”

But the UN Security Council has still role to play. Sacirbey said, China must be particularly put in position to rein in the Myanmar Regime or be exposed.

“The Regime sees China on the UN Security Council as in effect being an ally and shield,” he said.

Silence of Aung San Sui Kyi

But there is even more special role for Nobel Prize winner Anug San Sui Kyi, who is as critics say “silent to genocide.”

“Her excuses and denials have provided cover for the crimes and their extension,” Sacirbey said.

Aung San Suu Kyi UN photo by Rick Bajornas NY 2012

Aung San Suu Kyi UN photo by Rick Bajornas NY 2012

“As a Nobel winner she has a special obligation because she is credited with higher ethics and sensitivity to such crimes committed against any group or individual. If nothing else, as member of the Myanmar Government she is legally duty bound to confront crimes within her own circle.”

Sacirbey said “Aung San Sui Kyi has been complicit or at least not living up to her Nobel Laureate.”

“I have not received the same honors, recognition as ASSK. Nonetheless, having been the diplomatic, public face of BiH victims I understand it my duty to speak for Yezidi, Christian or Rohingya, and whether the perpetrator is ISIS or Burmese Government.”

The globally known Bosnian diplomat Muhamed Sacirbey said during the war in Bosnia he was always cognizant of this responsibility even if not always successful.

Indeed, that is the duty that newer ends.

UN Warns of consequences 

In a meantime Myanmar has barred a UN Human Rights Investigator from visiting the country and even, as it was reported by news agencies has withdrawn cooperation with her for the rest of her tenure.

Yanghee Lee, a UN special rapporteur (UN photo - un.org)

Yanghee Lee, a UN special rapporteur (UN photo – un.org)

Yanghee Lee, a UN special rapporteur, was to visit Myanmar in January 2018, to assess the state of human rights across the country including in Rakhine state where a brutal military crackdown has happened and brutal atrocities has occurred.

Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, speaking on return from a visit to Bangladesh, failed to conduct any conclusive discussion on the issue of statelessness of Rohingya with Myanmar authorities at a meeting in Geneva, earlier this year.

“It is very clear the cause of this crisis is in Myanmar but that the solution is also in Myanmar,” he said then expressing some hope that is evaporating by the end of this 2017.

And, Grandi also warned that “the risk of spread of terrorist violence in this particular region is very, very high” unless the issue are resolved in a credible amount of time.

Which is still not the case.

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