Myanmar has agreed to a visit by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) but it is not clear whether the Council members would be allowed to visit Rakhine state, the epicenter of violence against the Rohingyas.
The UNSC’s rotating President for April, Gustavo Meza-Cuadra (Peru) said at a press briefing at the Headquarters in New York on Monday that “the specific details were still taking shape, including whether Council members would visit Rakhine state in Myanmar or Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh.”
The aim of the visit would be to draw attention to the on-going challenges in the country but the terms of reference as well as the itineraries were yet to be finalized, he said.
Earlier, Myanmar told the UNSC not to visit during February this year saying it was “not the right time” but the country did not completely reject the proposed trip.
In November 2017, the UNSC expressed “grave concern over reports of human rights violations and abuses in Rakhine State, including by the Myanmar security forces, in particular against persons belonging to the Rohingya community, including those involving the systematic use of force and intimidation, killing of men, women, and children, sexual violence, and including the destruction and burning of homes and property.”
A violent military crackdown in Rakhine state has forced exodus of some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims, a long-persecuted stateless minority, into Bangladesh since August 2017. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in September 2017 called these atrocities against Rohingyas “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.