UN urges Bangladesh not to close door to Myanmar refugees

The United Nations on Friday stressed that refugees fleeing conflict should be granted safe haven after Bangladesh declared that it would no longer take in Myanmar’s Rohingya. (File/ AFP)
Updated 02 March 2019

UN urges Bangladesh not to close door to Myanmar refugees

  • Around 740,000 Muslim Rohingya are living in camps in Bangladesh after they were driven out of Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state during a military campaign in 2017
  • Bangladesh’s Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque told the Security Council that the refugee crisis had gone from “bad to worse”

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations on Friday stressed that refugees fleeing conflict should be granted safe haven after Bangladesh declared that it would no longer take in Myanmar’s Rohingya.
Bangladesh’s Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque told the Security Council on Thursday that the refugee crisis had gone from “bad to worse” and deplored the fact that none of the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya sheltering in his country had returned home.
“Bangladesh has been amazingly generous in the support they have given the Rohingya refugees,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
“It is important that people fleeing conflict are able to find safe haven wherever they go.”
Under a deal reached with Bangladesh, Myanmar agreed to take back some of the refugees, but the United Nations insists that the safety of the Rohingya be a condition for their return.
Haque told a council meeting on Myanmar that “Bangladesh would no longer be in a position to accommodate more people from Myanmar,” suggesting that his government was ready to close the border to refugees.
Around 740,000 Muslim Rohingya are living in camps in Bangladesh after they were driven out of Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state during a military campaign in 2017 that the United Nations has described as ethnic cleansing.
“Is Bangladesh paying the price for being responsive and responsible in showing empathy to a persecuted minority population of a neighboring country?” asked the foreign secretary.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is conducting an internal review of the world body’s operations in Myanmar following accusations that UN officials in the country ignored warning signs of the attacks against the Rohingya.
The UN spokesman said the review led by Guatemalan diplomat Gert Rosenthal was to provide “possible lessons learned for the future” and advise on the way forward.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper first reported on the inquiry on Tuesday that will focus on the UN’s failure to prevent the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.
Some of the criticism has focussed on allegations that the UN resident coordinator, Renata Lok-Dessallien, downplayed concerns about worsening abuses against the Rohingya and sought to prioritize economic development at the expense of human rights.
The UN has denied those claims.


Thailand confirms six more coronavirus infections, bringing total to 14

Updated 7 min 8 sec ago

Thailand confirms six more coronavirus infections, bringing total to 14

  • Five of the new cases came from Hubei province and are part of the same family
  • The Department of Disease Control will now scan all passengers from China

BANGKOK: Thailand announced plans on Tuesday to screen all arrivals from China for symptoms of a deadly virus and confirmed six more infections among such visitors, taking the southeast Asian nation’s tally to 14, health officials said.

The new strain of coronavirus claimed its first victim in Beijing, the Chinese capital, taking the death toll to 106 as infections reached 4,515, although there have been no deaths outside China.

Five victims among Thailand’s new cases, aged between 6 and 70, came from China’s central province of Hubei, and belonged to the same family, health official Tanarak Plipat, told reporters, and the sixth from southwestern Chongqing province.

One passenger from among the family of seven traveling together was taken to hospital after showing symptoms on arrival, added Tanarak, the deputy director-general of the department of disease control.

The other four of the family were quarantined after showing symptoms following monitoring, he added.

“Now we will expand screening to all Chinese from China and prepare equipment to screen 100%,” said Sukhum Kanchanapimai, the permanent secretary of the public health ministry.

Thailand had earlier screened passengers only from China’s central city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, its southern city of Guangzhou and northeastern Changchun across five airports, from Suvarnabhumi in Bangkok to those at Chiang Mai, Don Mueng, Phuket and Krabi.