Tue 19 Mar 2013
Filed under: Ethnic Issues,Inside Burma,News,United Nations
Myanmar has dismissed a United Nations report calling for urgent action to protect tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees this monsoon season.
Presidential spokesman U Ye Htut has told Australia Network’s Newsline program the shelter at camps holding an estimated 120,000 people is adequate.
“I think most of the people are still living in the camp but they have enough shelter and food supply for the rainy season,” he said.
United Nations Special Rapporteur Tomás Ojea Quintana says in his report he is concerned the camps will flood in a few months time and recommends Rohingya refugees be integrated into communities.
“The coming rainy season in May, which will flood many of these camps, further increases the urgency of relocation in order to avoid a humanitarian disaster,” he said.
Myanmar’s Rakhine state suffered two bouts of deadly sectarian violence last year between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims.
The fighting has divided the community and led to Rohingya Muslims being separated into temporary camps.
Video: Myanmar won’t provide special treatment to Rohingya refugees (Newsline)
Myanmar has reaffirmed Rohingya refugees won’t be given special treatment or granted citizenship, despite increased pressure from the United Nations.
Mr Ye Htut says thousands of stateless refugees must meet government criteria to get citizenship.
“Every people who have met the criteria of citizenship will have the citizenship,” he said.
“But there’s still many illegal immigrants in that area, and we have to solve that problem.”
United Nations Special Rapporteur Tomás Ojea Quintana is urging Myanmar to address “shortcomings” with the country’s human rights situation, particularly regarding the Rohingya population.
“The government must establish the truth about what happened in Rakhine state during the two waves of communal violence last June and October, and hold those responsible for human rights violations to account,” Mr Ye Htut said.