Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Suspension of work visas for workers from Myanmar continued, while tensions rise between neighbors

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Intrigue continued to deepen at the U.N. Monday as Bangladesh suspended visas for many foreign workers from Myanmar, in response to the violence against minority Rohingya refugees.

The protest came as new U.N. Security Council members China and Brazil staked out international positions on the recent crisis in Myanmar, according to diplomats. China, India and Brazil joined Russia as “Havana Club” countries, meaning that those countries do not take sides on matters of war or peace.

On Friday, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres presented a preliminary report of the inquiry’s work which found that Myanmar government forces were responsible for human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims and had “committed violations and abuses,” as well as suffering military attacks.

The report concluded that: “Instead of respecting international human rights law, the Burmese military command essentially disregarded international human rights law by conducting extrajudicial executions, arbitrary killings, sexual violence and denial of freedom of religion.”

A spokesman for the Myanmar government on Sunday denied the United Nations’ human rights allegations and that it has also welcomed reports from the U.N. about the situation.

Monday, a Bangladeshi government official complained that BIA workers from Myanmar were abusing their guest status, “consuming medications that are not their own, and putting themselves at risk.”

This statement continues to be the Bangladesh government’s position on the recent crisis.

U.N. officials indicated that any unrest from the BIA workers might be shrugged off as a result of the coincidence of cross-border worker movements. But relations between the two neighbors appear to be deteriorating as a result of the political situation in Myanmar.

In addition to the violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar, Bangladesh has confirmed three mass graves since February, all of which, according to U.N. officials, were claimed by Rakhine refugees.

In a briefing on the war crimes findings, Guterres and Irina Bokova, head of the U.N. cultural arm, UNESCO, called for human rights violations by both Myanmar and the Rohingya should be investigated and prosecuted for possible accountability by an international court. The officials were not specific on how such an investigation should be conducted, or by whom.

In addition to the U.N. inquiry, the U.S. government sent a fact-finding mission that is ongoing, and the Myanmar government says it may also investigate similar abuses by the militants, according to The Telegraph.

Also on Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister M. Abdul Kalam told parliament that there was no “another Bangladesh,” and that everyone there “should think about human rights,” according to the All India Radio.

Kalam was referring to the 1969 riots between Bangladesh and Indian-administered Bangladesh, and statements that in 2014 by Syed Nazrul Islam, speaker of the Indian parliament who said “the clash between Bangladesh and India has crossed the accepted limit, with reasons that are too ugly to be divulged,” according to The New York Times.

Follow Abdul Rahman on Twitter

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