KUTUPALONG refugee camp, Bangladesh (Reuters) – Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh face emancipation on Sunday in front of the UN Security Council for assistance in returning to their homes in neighboring Myanmar and for justice because of the reason for the killings – killings, rapes and arson.
During a visit to an unclaimed strip of land between the two states No-Man's land, several tearful women and girls pounced on British UN Ambassador Karen Pierce as they recounted what happened to them had happened.
"It shows the scale of the challenge as we try to find a way, as Security Council, that will allow these poor people to go home," Pierce said. "The sad thing is that today we can not do anything that will make their need even less."
Security Council envoys traveling to Myanmar on Monday to meet with their actual leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, also visited a dry and dusty refugee camp in Kutupalong, which hosted many of the nearly 700,000 Rohingya who were displaced from Myanmar's Rakhine State had fled.
"It's quite overwhelming, obviously the extent of this camp is unlike anything I've ever seen," said US Assistant Ambassador to the United Nations Kelley Currie. "It will be a disaster when the rain comes."
United Nations officials and aid agencies have expressed their concern that the upcoming monsoon season will worsen the humanitarian situation. Hundreds of thousands of refugees live in shelters of bamboo and tarpaulins in Kutupalong, many on steep hills and in low-lying areas that are likely to be flooded.
Myanmar's Minister of Social Welfare Ms. Myat Aye, who spoke in the refugee camps in Bangladesh earlier this month, expressed concern about "very bad conditions".
The refugee crisis exploded about eight months ago when the Burmese military cracked down on Rohingya rebels' attacks on security posts. The United States, Britain, the United Nations and others described the operation as an ethnic cleansing of the mainly Muslim minority Rohingya, a charge that Myanmar denies.
Hundreds of refugees lined a street in Kutupalong Camp Sunday with signs saying "We demand justice" and "Protected return to protected homeland".
"We stand here to demand justice because they (men from Myanmar) killed our men and tortured our women so that we are forced to seek justice for this abuse "Rohingya refugee Sajida Begum told Reuters.
Several female refugees meeting with council ambassadors charged the Burmese forces with rape, attacking their young children, and killing their husbands. Myanmar said its operations in Rakhine were a legitimate response to attacks by the Rohingya insurgents on security forces.
"This is a very complicated issue related to history, ethnicity and religions," Chinese deputy UN Ambassador Wu Haitao told reporters on the question of whether China and Russia could prevent the Council from taking one Consider resolution in Myanmar.
"There is no simple answer, but when we all work together, I think we can find a way," he said.
However, while the Security Council is unified in the region, diplomats said they expect Myanmar that China and Russia – both veto powers in the Council – resist any stronger action by the Council, such as sanctions or a referral of the situation to the International Criminal Court ,
"We have no magic solution in the Security Council," Deputy Russian UN Ambassador Dmitry Polyansky told reporters in response to a question as to whether the Council would blame itself for failing to address the crisis.
"The problem is still bilateral ways of solving this problem, and we will try to convince both governments to engage in constructive negotiations and discussions," he said.
The Council adopted a formal declaration in November – a measure requiring a consensus of the 15-member body – calling on Myanmar not to "ensure continued excessive use of military force" and "freedom of movement, equal access to basic services" to allow services and equal access to full citizenship for all. "
Buddhist majority Myanmar has for years denied Rohingya citizenship, freedom of movement and access to many basic services such as health care and education." They are considered illegal immigrants from mainly Muslim Bangladesh.
Additional reporting by Rafiqur Rahman; Editing Mark Heinrich and Lisa Shumaker