ASIA: Rohingya must be provided protection from violence; their rights respected, and allowed to live in peace

An Oral Statement to the 36th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council by the Asian Legal Resource Centre

Mr. Vice President,

The ALRC draws the Council’s attention to the one of the important issues that the Council should take up, that is to protect the Rohingya from what is increasingly referred to as “ethnic cleansing” undertaken by the Government of Myanmar and Buddhist extremists. Close to half a million Rohingya have been forced to leave Myanmar and to take refuge in Bangladesh. They require 1. adequate shelter, food, and basic healthcare that are still unavailable; 2. protection of orphans from human trafficking; 3. of women from sexual abuse; and 4. the safe repatriation of the Rohingya to Myanmar under UN supervision.

Bangladesh has allowed the Rohingya to come in two weeks ago. However it is worrying that situations within Bangladesh are far from satisfactory. Widespread corruption within all levels of government and state institutions in Bangladesh are incapable of provide any protection to Bangladeshis and hence aliens like the Rohingya stands high risk of exploitation within Bangaldesh. It is impractical to expect Bangladesh to respect the rights of the refugees while the government itself has been consistently disappearing and extra-judicially executing its own citizens.

The ALRC is concerned that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has hardly paid attention to Bangladesh’s human rights realities that may deteriorate in the coming months as the deadline for anther general election approaches.

I thank you, Mr. Vice President.

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