China and Russia, two veto-wielding powers in the United Nations Security Council, have said that there are no easy solutions to the Rohingya crisis but they expressed support for continuing efforts to address the challenge.
A 40-member UNSC delegation, including representatives of all 15 member states, visited the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar and Bandarban yesterday and spoke to the press afterwards.
Thousands of Rohingya refugees in Kutupalong camp thronged to meet the UNSC delegation.
Haitao Wu, China’s deputy UN ambassador, said that China was closely working with Bangladesh to solve the problem through diplomatic means.
He said: “We can understand how the crisis has affected the people of Bangladesh. The solution should be searched through diplomacy. We have to consider the humanitarian aspect of the crisis to bring a solution. However, it is a very complicated issue and there was not short-cut or easy solution.”
Rohingya refugees waiting for UNSC delegation in Ukhiya Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune
Dmitry Polyansky, the Russian delegate, said the Security Council was working together to find a solution to the refugee crisis.
“The time for resolutions has not come,” he said in response to a question.
“There are no magic solutions here. Of course we are discussing this and trying to find the best solutions,” he added.
“We want a bilateral solution to this, and are trying to tell both the countries to engage in productive negotiations.”
The delegates said that further decision would come after visiting Myanmar.
In December, China, Russia, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, and Vietnam joined Myanmar to vote against a UN General Assembly resolution that urged Myanmar to end the military campaign against the Rohingya and called for the appointment of a UN special envoy there.
After visiting the Kutupalong camp, the delegation will leave for Dhaka. Later in the evening, a reception will be held in their honour at Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden Hotel.
They will meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Monday morning and afterwards leave Dhaka for Myanmar. The UNSC visit was originally scheduled for April 27-28.
Earlier on Sunday, representatives of Bangladesh government called upon the UNSC delegation to keep up the pressure on Myanmar regarding the Rohingya issue.
In response, the delegation expressed its interest for learning more about the intricate details of the Rohingya refugee crisis.
We have assessed the situation by hearing the government of Bangladesh and the accounts of Rohingya people. Tomorrow we will leave Bangladesh for Myanmar to inspect the crisis in Rakhine state,” said Kuwait’s Ambassador to the UN Mansour Ayyad Al-Otaibi.
Citing the repatriation agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar accomplished in January, the delegate again said that they were up to speed with the process of implementation of the bilateral agreement.
The delegates also praised Bangladesh and its people for providing shelter and necessary support to the helpless Rohingya people. They vowed to continue their support towards Bangladesh and the vast number of refugees.
Gustavo Adolfo Meza-Caudra Velasquez, the permanent representative of Peru to the UN, at the press said that the UNSC was very concerned about the issue and would continue its humanitarian aid and support both for the refugees and Bangladesh.
“The UNSC is very concerned over this refugee crisis and we have come here to learn more about the situation. The Rohingya people are living in dire conditions. We are searching for a way to help both Bangladesh and Myanmar,” he said.
“After our assessments are complete, we will sit in New York and steps will be taken following a discussion of the UNSC members,” he said at a press briefing.
Karen Pierce, the Britain’s UN Ambassador said that they believed the issue was one of the most significant humanitarian crises they have faced in last 10 years and stressed the importance of solving the problem.
Representatives of Bangladesh government also held a three-part presentation highlighting important issues that needs attention, reports the Bangla Tribune.
The UNSC team visited refugee camps in Naikhyangchhari zero point in Bandarban where they talked to the refugees in the border area. Later, they visited the camps in Kutupalong in Cox’s Bazar. They met victims who had been tortured, torched, and raped in Rakhine state.
They will meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the morning and afterwards leave Dhaka for Myanmar.
Bangladesh’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam also spoke before the press after the UNSC delegates’ briefing.
He said: “The main essence of the UNSC team’s briefing is that lighting a fire is easy but it is difficult to extinguish it. All of the delegates had agreed about the humanitarian crisis in the refugee camps and exchanged their views regarding the matter. It may take time to take decisions consensually.”
Over 700,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh, and the influx, though reduced in recent weeks, continues despite Myanmar’s assurances of stopping violence in Rakhine.