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The de facto leader of the government of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, traveled on Thursday (02.11.2017) to Rakhine state, in the west of the country, marking her first visit to the area where hundreds of thousands of people from the Muslim minority Rohinyá have fled the violence to Bangladesh.
The border town is the site of the events of August 25, where the armed assault of a rohinyá rebel group unleashed the recent repressive campaign of the Burmese Army. Suu Kyi traveled there accompanied by several members of the Burmese government and the state government, according to Nyi Pu, in this unannounced visit to Rakhine that would be for a single day.
The military operation in Rakhine caused the displacement, according to the UN, of at least 603,000 people in camps in Bangladesh, most of them Rohingya, and left tens of thousands more people in the north of this state in need of humanitarian aid.
In September, Suu Kyi condemned the human rights violations in Rakhine but avoided holding the army accountable for her campaign that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights described as “ethnic cleansing of the manual.”
Repatriation and humanitarian aid for the Rohinyas
The United Nations (UN) requested this Thursday (02.11.2017) freedom of access to humanitarian aid in the north of the Rakhine state of Burma and that the repatriation of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled the violence towards Bangladesh be safe and voluntary.
The assistant to the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Volker Türk, presented these demands to several members of the Burmese government during a two-day visit that ended yesterday in Naypyidaw.
At the meetings, Türk urged the government to “ensure a safe environment and the protection of all communities in Rakhine” and to allow access to humanitarian organizations to deliver aid and contribute to “rebuilding trust among communities in need.”
Türk also supported the right of refugees to return and asked that they be guaranteed a “safe, voluntary and sustainable repatriation to their places of origin”.
The assistant applauded the Burmese government’s proposal to create a working workshop with UNHCR to define standards for repatriation and reiterated the UN agency’s willingness to assist the Burmese authorities.