Stressing that the legal process that led to the conviction of two Reuters journalists in Myanmar “clearly breached” international standards, the United Nations top human rights official called for their immediate and unconditional release.
Myanmar should experience feelings of “shame” after attempting to convince the world that it is willing to take back hundreds of thousands of refugees who fled an “ethnic cleansing campaign” last year, given that “not a single” one has returned officially, the United Nations human rights chief declared on Wednesday.
The United Nations rights expert on Myanmar is “strongly” recommending that the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigate and prosecute those allegedly responsible for “decades of crimes” in the form a grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law inside the country.
Focussing on “listening to all sides” the new United Nations Special Envoy on Myanmar praised “recent positive steps” taken by the government and United Nations to try and ensure the eventual voluntary, safe and dignified return of Rohingya refugees, to their homes in Rakhine state.
United Nations agencies and Myanmar have agreed a framework which it is hoped will lead to the repatriation of Rohingya refugees, but only if their “voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable” return from camps in Bangladesh can be guaranteed.
The United Nations human rights arm has voiced deep concern over escalating conflict between the military and armed groups in Myanmar’s Kachin and Shan provinces that has displaced over 100,000 civilians and trapped many in the midst of active fighting.
After seeing for themselves the conditions facing Rohingya refugees in the camps of southern Bangladesh as well as homes they fled in Myanmar, Security Council members called on Tuesday for them to be allowed a safe return.
“Regardless of their ethnicity, religion and citizenship status, we need to […] ensure that no vulnerable conflict-affected people are deprived of safe and sustained access to humanitarian protection and assistance, Ursula Mueller, the UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, said on Sunday at the end of a six-day visit to Myanmar.