Geneva: India on Tuesday stressed on restoration of normalcy in Myanmar’s Rakhine state where violence has triggered an outflow of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees to neighbouring Bangladesh and called for the situation to be handled with restraint.
“It is imperative that violence is ended and normalcy in the state is restored expeditiously through a solution based on respect for peace, communal harmony, justice, dignity and democratic values,” Rajiv Chander, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, said.
“We urge that the situation in Rakhine state be handled with restraint, focusing on the welfare of the civilian population,” he said.
Chander was speaking at an interactive dialogue with the fact-finding mission on Myanmar at the 36th session of the Human Rights Council.
Reiterating India’s deep concern over the recent spate of violence, he said: “We take note that this violence was triggered off by a series of terrorist attacks which led to loss of lives amongst the security forces as well as the civilian population.”
The UN office in Bangladesh said on Monday that around 415,000 refugees have entered the country since August 25 after the Myanmarese army launched a crackdown on the minority Rohingya community after the series of attacks on security personnel.
The Rohingyas do not enjoy citizenship status in Myanmar and are sparingly given refugee status in Bangladesh.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared New Delhi’s concerns over the situation in Rakhine during a meeting with Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi when he visited Nay Pyi Taw earlier this month.
Chander, in his speech on Tuesday said that in the past, Myanmar has been tabling regular reports on internal developments at various UN bodies.
“After the submission of the final report of the Kofi Annan-led UN Special Advisory Commission for Rakhine state on August 24, 2017, the government of Myanmar has welcomed the ‘meaningful and long term solutions’ proposed in the report and assured that it will give full consideration to its recommendations with a view to carrying them out to the fullest extent, and within the shortest time,” he said.
“Government of Myanmar has also agreed to set out a roadmap for implementation of the recommendations, including immediate establishment of a new ministerial-led committee that would be assisted by an advisory board on Rakhine that will include Myanmar and international experts for implementation of the recommendations. The international community must extend full support to Government of Myanmar in its efforts.”
Chander also pointed out the serious problem emerging in Bangladesh because of the influx of such a large number of people and said India has extended humanitarian relief to Bangladesh to support it in meeting the needs of the refugees.
“The role being played by Bangladesh in extending humanitarian assistance to the refugees deserves recognition,” he said.
The Indian Permanent Representative said that the only long-term solution to the situation in Rakhine was socio-economic and infrastructure development.
“Such development would generate employment opportunities and economic activity that should have a positive impact on all the communities living in the state,” he stated.
“It is with this understanding that we have recently agreed with Myanmar to provide financial and technical assistance for identified projects to be undertaken in Rakhine state in conjunction with the local authorities.”
Chander said India and Myanmar have agreed “to undertake both infrastructure and socio-economic projects, particularly in the spheres of education, health, agriculture and allied activities, agro-processing, community development, construction of small bridges, upgrade of roads, small power projects, livelihood activity, setting up of training centres, promotion of household crafts, conservation of environment and cultural heritage”.