UN's Guterres to visit Bangladesh on Rohingya crisis


United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Photo: EPA

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will visit Bangladesh on Sunday with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim to assess needs for dealing with hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who fled from Myanmar, leading to a humanitarian crisis. 

The two-day visit will "highlight the generosity of Bangladesh in hosting the largest refugee influx of 2017 and the need of the international community to do more," said a statement from the UN. 

From August to December 2017, more than 700,000 ethnic Rohingya, a Muslim minority, fled an offensive by Myanmar troops launched in reprisal for attacks on border posts said to have been carried out by Rohingya terrorists. 

The United Nations said the visitors would "lay the groundwork for further dialogue" with Bangladesh on medium-term planning for the refugees and on the need for "comprehensive solutions" to their plight.

In Dhaka, the two visitors will meet with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and other top officials. 

On Monday, Guterres and Kim will visit refugees and aid workers at the Cox's Bazar encampment on the southeastern coast. 

The delegation also includes UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and Natalia Kanem, executive director of the UN Population Fund.  

They will study prospects for "a safe, voluntary and dignified return" of refugees to Myanmar, the UN said. 

The world body has demanded an end to the Myanmar military operations, unfettered access to the western Myanmar region from which the refugees fled, and a peaceful and organized return of the Rohingya to their home region of the Buddhist-majority country. 

The Security Council visited Myanmar and Rakhine state in early May, meeting with refugees who gave detailed accounts of killings, rape and torching of villages at the hands of Myanmar's military.

Myanmar has vehemently denied allegations by the US, United Nations and others of ethnic cleansing.

AFP

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