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UN chief visits Rohingya camps in Bangladesh

#chief #visits #Rohingya #camps #Bangladesh

Michelle Bachelet will make the first visit by a UN chief justice to Bangladesh next week, including the sprawling refugee camps that are home to nearly a million Rohingyas.

Bachelet’s office announced on Friday that the Sunday-Wednesday trip was at the invitation of the Dhaka government.

It will be one of the former Chilean President’s last acts as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights before her four-year term expires at the end of the month.

During her visit to the capital Dhaka, the UN head of law is to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and other ministers.

“The High Commissioner will also travel to Cox’s Bazar, where she can visit camps housing Rohingya refugees from Myanmar and meet with refugees, officials and non-governmental organizations,” her office said in a statement.

The visit comes this month ahead of the fifth anniversary of the Rohingya exodus to the southeastern tip of neighboring Bangladesh.

The camps are home to nearly a million Rohingya refugees who fled a military offensive in Myanmar.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled Rakhine state in August 2017 after the crackdown the UN is investigating over genocide allegations.

Bangladeshi authorities are increasingly impatient to take in the refugees and have criticized the rest of the world for not providing more aid.

Bangladesh bans the 920,000 mostly Muslim Rohingya refugees from leaving the camps surrounded by barbed wire.

The Rohingya are loathed by many in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, who see them as illegal immigrants and refer to them as “Bengalis”.

They have refused to return until assured of safety and equal rights – which Myanmar has refused to promise – so they are stuck in bamboo and tarpaulin huts with no jobs, poor sanitation and little education.

– “Serious Abuses” –

Bachelet “should publicly call for an immediate end to serious ill-treatment, including extrajudicial killings, torture and enforced disappearances,” nine human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

“This is an important opportunity for the High Commissioner to halt the Bangladesh government’s further descent into authoritarianism by halting the harassment and reprisals against critics.

“Bachelet should urge the government to ensure full accountability for the gross human rights abuses that persist in the country.”

She is scheduled to meet with the National Human Rights Commission in Bangladesh.

The United Nations’ highest court ruled last month that a landmark case accusing military-ruled Myanmar of the Rohingya genocide can go ahead.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague dismissed all of Myanmar’s objections to the case.

However, it could be years before full hearings and a final verdict are reached in the case.

The International Criminal Court has also launched an investigation.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in March that the Myanmar military’s violence against the Rohingya amounted to genocide.

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#chief #visits #Rohingya #camps #Bangladesh

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