DHAKA: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked the UN Security Council on Monday to press Myanmar to take back hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled a military crackdown to take refuge in her country.
Security Council envoys visited Hasina in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, before travelling to Myanmar for meetings with its government leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and military Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing later on Monday.
“They should put more pressure on the Myanmar government so that they take their citizens back to their country. That’s what we want,” Hasina told reporters.
The visit by the Security Council envoys, to see the aftermath of a military operation in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State, puts a global spotlight on the crisis which the United Nations and others have denounced as ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims.
Myanmar denies the accusation, saying the military was engaged in a legitimate counter-insurgency operation.
Hasina said the refugees should return “under UN supervision where security and safety should be ensured”.
“They want to go back to their own country. So the Security Council can play a very pivotal role,” she added.
Later in the day, Aung San Suu Kyi received a UN Security Council delegation in the highest-level diplomatic visit since the start of the Rohingya crisis.
Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of mainly Buddhist Myanmar, has been pilloried overseas for her failure to speak up for the Muslim Rohingya or publicly condemn the army for driving them out of the country.
On Monday afternoon, she chaired a meeting of 15 UN delegates, according to a Ministry of Information photograph, as the UN tries to put more pressure on Myanmar to allow refugees to return safely. — AFP/