Thomas Drew condemns ill-treatment with Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

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ISLAMABAD: The British High Commissioner Thomas Drew CMG has condemned the treatment of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar (Burma), after the United Kingdom chaired a UN Security Council meeting on their continued suffering last night in New York.

As the President of the UN Security Council for August and a Permanent Member of the Security Council, the UK focused on the situation faced by Rohingya Muslims. Lord Tariq Mahmood Ahmad, the UK Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN and the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion and Belief, chaired the session, which was briefed by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Speaking about the debate, the British High Commissioner Thomas Drew said: “This is an important week for securing international support for the Rohingya people and bringing an end to the crisis. We chaired a debate under the UK’s Presidency of the United Nations Security Council to find international consensus, and we saw the launch of an important report that sets out the horrific crimes taking place in Burma.

“This is part of the UK’s work to lead the global effort to end the persecution and suffering of the Rohingya Muslims. We were one of the first responders to the crisis, and remain one of the biggest donors. We have provided £129 million in assistance to date. We are also extending counselling and psychological support to the Rohingya refugees, including the victims of sexual violence.

“The UK condemns the apparent ethnic cleansing of the Rohingyas in Rakhine. We are committed to a long-term solution of the crisis, and stand for the accountability of the perpetrators. The UK demands immediate, unfettered access for the UN to northern Rakhine State. Without it, hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people remain without the aid and development assistance they urgently need.”

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Cate Blanchett, and UNDP official Tegegnwork Gettu briefed accounts of the persecution and suffering faced by the Rohingya at the UK-chaired UN Security Council meeting. Mr. Guterres said that despite the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the UN agencies and Myanmar authorities in June, the country’s leaders have not made the investment in reconstruction, reconciliation, and respect for human rights.

The debate followed a UN fact-finding mission, which concluded that the pattern of gross human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law, principally committed by the military, amounted to genocide in international law. The mission concluded that criminal investigation and prosecution is warranted, including to six senior Burmese generals, for acting with genocidal intent, crimes against humanity and war crimes.