Will Myanmar abide by UN resolution to grant full citizenship to Rohingyas?
United Nations, Nov 18: As the flow of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to Bangladesh continues unabated, it's clear that the military operations in Myanmar's Rakhine State against the minority Muslim community are yet to get over which began on August 25.
Thus, till date, Bangladesh has given shelter to at least 622,000 Rohingyas in its refugee camps in Cox's Bazar district. Aid workers predict that 200,000 more Rohingyas will be entering Bangladesh in the coming weeks.
Amid this unprecedented refugee crisis, a key United Nations (UN) committee overwhelmingly approved a resolution on Thursday calling on Myanmar's authorities to end military operations against Rohingya Muslims, ensure their voluntary return from Bangladesh and grant them "full citizenship rights", reported AP.
The General Assembly's human rights committee approved the resolution sponsored by the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) by a vote of 135-10, with 26 abstentions. Those voting "no" included Myanmar's close neighbour China as well as Russia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Laos.
The resolution now goes to the 193-member General Assembly for a final vote in December where its approval is virtually certain.
Saudi Arabia's UN ambassador, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, speaking on behalf of the OIC, said "another inhumane scene" of religious hatred is unfolding in Myanmar, forcing nearly 620,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh.
He said the OIC is deeply concerned at escalating violence against the Rohingya, who have been called "insects" and "roaches" in Myanmar.
The resolution said there has been a "disproportionate and sustained use of force" by Myanmar's security forces against the Rohingya community and others in northern Rakhine State. It said nearly 60 percent of the Muslims who have been forced to flee are children.
The resolution expresses "grave concern" at the reports of human rights violations and abuses, particularly in Rakhine, and calls on Myanmar to grant unhindered humanitarian access to aid those in need as well as access for a UN fact-finding mission.
The resolution also asks UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to appoint a special envoy for Myanmar.
Myanmar Ambassador Hau Do Suan told the committee, "The draft resolution is, to say the least, flawed in its substance and dubious and questionable in intent."
"It is based on one-sided accusations, and falsely claimed evidence, using controversial and self-designated nomenclature throughout," he said.
The resolution "undermines the sovereignty of a nation and is tantamount to insulting its people."
By contrast, Bangladesh's UN ambassador, Masud Bin Momen, called the Rohingya "the most persecuted people on Earth" and stressed the importance of their survival and basic human rights.
Recently, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina appealed to the international community to pressurise Myanmar to take back its "citizens". The Bangladesh government has expressed its inability to give food and shelter to a large number of refugees because of its limited resources.