UN Security Council members recount mission to Bangladesh, Myanmar crisis

UNITED NATIONS, May 14 (Xinhua) -- UN Security Council members on Monday said they were struck by the plight of Rohingya refugees after visiting their camps in Bangladesh.

"The visit left a deep impression on us all, in particular the scale of the crisis, the number of refugees and the scale of the destruction of the villages," said Ambassador Lise Gregoire van Haare of the Netherlands.

She and 14 other council members visited refugee camps in southern-most Bangladesh and flew by helicopter over razed Rohingya villages in Myanmar's northern Rakhine state from which they had fled.

"In Cox's Bazar (Bangladesh) we heard horrifying accounts from survivors of the violence," she said, adding: "We met a woman holding a 16-day-old baby and she looked like she didn't know what to do with it. She was raped the night that her husband was killed."

"In Northern Rakhine we witnessed the widespread destruction of villages," the ambassador said. "The scale of the crisis cannot be denied by anyone."

The UN Refugee Agency recently tallied some 1.2 million ethnic Muslim Rohingya who fled their homes, 670,000 of them in the face of marauding Myanmar government and militia forces acting in retribution for Rohingya militants' deadly attacks on government security posts on Aug. 25, 2017.

Untold numbers were killed or wounded.

Ambassador Karen Pierce of Britain who led the mission at the end of April and the beginning of May with envoys from Peru, last month's president of the council, and Kuwait remarked on "the sheer scale of the devastation."

"I was very struck by the magnitude of what the refugees face and what the governments face and what the UN faces as they try to get the people home," she said. "We did see widespread devastation from the air and this is obviously one reason for the scale of the refugee camps in Bangladesh."

Pierce recommended Myanmar scale up its reaction to the crisis, better prepare for return of the refugees in safety and dignity when they want to go back to their homes or where the homes were and prepare not only for a long-term political solution but also for development and physical arrangements.

Council members also gave praise to Bangladesh for hosting so many refugees.

[ Editor: WPY ]


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