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Rohingya group demands UN chief quit

Secretary General, his aides should be held accountable for failure to address Myanmar's persecution of ethnic minority, says Rohingya group

DHAKA, Bangladesh

A Rohingya advocacy group on Tuesday called on UN chief and his senior aide to resign over the global body’s “systemic failure” in addressing genocide against the Rohingya under their leadership.

In a statement, Free Rohingya Coalition (FRC) criticized UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and former UN Resident Coordinator in Myanmar Renata Lok-Dessallien for failing to safeguard thousands of Rohingya in Myanmar.

The advocacy group blasted Guterres and Lok-Dessallien over a report released in May.

The 36-page official report titled “A brief and independent inquiry into the involvement of the United Nations in Myanmar from 2010 to 2018” and prepared by former Guatemalan Foreign Minister and UN diplomat Gert Rosenthal acknowledges the UN’s "systemic failures".

About the controversial role of Lok-Dessallien while working in Myanmar, the statement said: “[She] reportedly suppressed an internal report of the alarming failings of the UN in Myanmar in taking the egregious rights violations amounting to crimes against humanity, specifically against the persecuted Rohingya ethnic minority.”

After such a gross violation of the norms and rules of an international organization like the UN, Lok-Dessallien was not held responsible due to lack of proper role of the UN chief, the statement asserted.

The group accused Guterres of rewarding Lok-Dessallien with a larger portfolio as the chief UN official in India, instead of holding his aides accountable for their failures.

About the UN's alleged failure in Myanmar, the report said: “It must also be said that the United Nations’ collective membership, represented by the Security Council, bears part of that responsibility, by not providing enough support to the Secretariat when such backing was and continues to be essential.”

The report also put blame on UN member states as they "collectively also bear part of the responsibility" for the body's failure in addressing incidents in Rakhine State.

“If there is one single action that might have altered the course of events in Myanmar, it would have been the timely and impartial presence in Rakhine State of some type of United Nations observatory that would offer a measure of confidence to the oppressed minorities," read the report.

The FRC added: “The coalition therefore holds that in order for impunity to end within Myanmar and within the international protection system, Secretary General and his managerial deputies should be held accountable for the failures that have thus far emboldened Myanmar’s ongoing genocidal persecution of Rohingya ethnic minority in Rakhine State.”

Exiled dissident from Myanmar and human rights activist Maung Zarni told Anadolu Agency that after publishing the UN report, Guterres and Dessallien have no moral, intellectual and legal rights to hold any position in the UN.

“Staying at the driving position they [Guterres and Dessallien] moved the organization [the UN] to wrong direction violating existing rules and regulations,” Zarni added.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed to Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience".

Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

© 2019 Anadolu Agency

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