Statement by H.E. Ms. Rabab Fatima, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations at the Arria Formula meeting on the Situation in Myanmar, 09 April 2021

I thank the Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom and other cosponsoring missions for organizing today’s timely meeting.

The current situation in Myanmar is extremely volatile. As an immediate neighbour, Bangladesh is deeply concerned about imminent humanitarian and cross-border implications of the crisis, including possible forced displacement of ethnic minorities in the bordering areas. In addition to the fears of further influx, Bangladesh is concerned that instability in Myanmar could stir up tension in the Rohingya camps in Bangladesh, where over a million forcibly displaced Rohingyas are currently hosted.

Bangladesh has been hosting forcibly displaced Rohingya minorities of Rakhine State for decades. Despite sincere efforts during the last four years, there has been no progress in repatriation; not a single Rohingya could return due to the lack of conducive environment on the ground.

Recent developments have made matters worse, and the prospects of return have become dim. Needless to say, such an environment of uncertainty could potentially trigger security implications for the entire region and beyond.

In this situation, it is imperative to have the urgent and sustained attention of the international community, particularly the Security Council. Resolution of the current crisis in Myanmar has crucial bearing on the situation of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar. It is evident that the Rohingya crisis is not an isolated phenomenon; rather an illustration of deeply engrained systemic problems rooted in the country’s socio-political structure. Any sustainable solution to Myanmar’s problems would require addressing the underlying root causes faced by its people, especially the ethnic groups.

It is encouraging to see the international community, particularly the Security Council is making efforts to address the situation in Myanmar. The Press Statements adopted in February and April as well as the PRST adopted in February on the situation of Myanmar are welcome developments. It is critical for the Council to maintain this momentum and continue to remain seized with the matter until the situation is reversed.

Bangladesh would like to offer the following proposals in this regard:

First of all, the Security Council needs to take custodianship of the international community’s engagement with the relevant stakeholders in Myanmar by deescalating tension, restoring peace and upholding constitutional obligations. Other mandated UN mechanisms including the Special Envoy, Special Rapporteur and Head of Independent Investigative Mechanism should be able to fulfil their responsibilities in an effort to resolve the crisis in Myanmar in a sustainable manner.

Secondly: efforts to create conducive environment in Rakhine state and other parts of Myanmar must continue, to support voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable repatriation of the Rohingya and other minorities in their places of origin. The role and functions of UN agencies and other stakeholders present in Myanmar are critical in this regard, especially in coordinating humanitarian assistance and implementing the projects for the rehabilitation and reintegration of the returnees.

Thirdly, the underlying root causes of Myanmar’s persistent socio-political and structural problems must be addressed in a sustained and comprehensive manner. We believe that full and effective implementation of the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, including the establishment of a clear pathway to citizenship of the Rohingyas remains crucial to resolve the lingering Rohingya crisis.

Fourthly: All violations of human rights, crimes and other aberrations must be accounted for. The prevailing culture of impunity, as well as the cycle of violence cannot be allowed to perpetuate if we really want to find a durable solution to the Myanmar crisis.  To that end all accountability mechanisms established on Myanmar so far must be fully supported, including by the Council.

Finally, all other relevant stakeholders, including the regional organizations and other regional States having influence on Myanmar, must play their due role in peacefully resolving all the longstanding socio-political challenges of Myanmar. ASEAN, in particular, has a significant role to play in in this regard.  Bangladesh will continue to engage constructively with all to finding a durable solution.

I thank you all.