I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to express my delegation’s sincere appreciation to all member states for their support to the resolution on the human rights situation of the Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar, which has just been adopted without a vote.
I thank the fellow members of the OIC, the delegation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in particular, and also the European Union for their commitment and leadership on this important issue.
In August 2017, the world witnessed what was the beginning of the history’s largest and fastest exodus, with hundreds and thousands of Rohingya minorities fleeing their burning homes in Myanmar. Over 750,000 Rohingya—including more than 400,000 children entered Bangladesh seeking shelter and protection in a few weeks’ time through a border that stretches only 41 kilometers.
Within a blink of an eye, Cox’s Bazar which used to be a forest roamed by the elephants, became the house of the world’s largest refugee camp. With the caseload from previous exoduses, currently 1.2 million Rohingya minorities leave in the camps in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is an overpopulated country with a density of 3,277 people per square kilometer. It is worse for Cox’s Bazaar, which, apart from being one of the most impoverished parts of our country, is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters and climate change.
Presence of such a large number of displaced people in Cox’s Bazar for a long time is therefore completely untenable. Which is why, while we provided shelter to the fleeing Rohingyas out of humanitarian consideration, they were always meant to return to Myanmar. To that end, we have taken multi-pronged diplomatic efforts – both at the bilateral and multilateral fronts with a view to improving the conditions in Myanmar and facilitating their safe, voluntary and sustainable return.
We deeply regret that the situation in Myanmar continues to deteriorate. Not a single Rohingya has been able to return in last five years. The Rohingyas left in Myanmar are also faced with continued persecution and threats of displacement.
In view of this, we welcome the adoption of this resolution by the 3rd committee, which is a manifestation of our collective commitment to do right by the Rohingyas.
We welcome the resolution’s continued focus on the need to address the root causes of the Rohingya crisis, including in the context of current unfortunate developments in Myanmar. We express our strong support to the mandates of the Special Envoy of Secretary General, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation of Myanmar, and the Independent Investigative Mechanism on Myanmar, and remain committed to providing full cooperation to them. We would like to see increased role of the regional countries and the regional organizations in resolving the Rohingya crisis with enhanced urgency, before it turns into a regional security crisis.
Pending their return, the Rohingyas living in the camps deserve the solidarity of the international community. The humanitarian response plan needs to be adequately funded. Equally important is to ensure enhanced coherence in the work of the peace, development and humanitarian actors in Myanmar in order to ensure long term impacts for the minorities at risk including the prospective returnees. Pursuing the ongoing accountability tracks is also important as a confidence building measure.
We believe this resolution will give us the much-needed impetus to reinforce our collective efforts to achieve durable solutions for the Rohingyas.
I thank you.