UN-backed transport of Burmese junta officials to Bangladesh, leaked emails revealed


Leaked emails obtained by the Myanmar Accountability Project (MAP) show UN boats used to transport Burmese junta officials to Bangladesh, with UN marks removed from the boats beforehand It revealed that.

The leaked email, seen by The Epoch Times, was sent on March 16 from UN Resident Coordinator Ramanathan Balakrishnan in Burma (also known as Myanmar) to members of the UN Country Team.

In an email, Balakrishnan said that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Food Program had received “very firm demands” before “on March 15, the Mangudaw to Teknaf We have provided the boats to the Myanmar return pilot mission for the journey.” from the military government.

The request was made “36 hours before the planned trip” by military government officials in Mangudaw Township in Rakhine State, and all UN markings were removed from all boats, he said.

There were no weapons or armed guards present during the trip, the UN official added.

Balakrishnan also clarified that UNHCR was “not involved in the bilateral talks between the government of Bangladesh and the de facto Myanmar authorities leading up to this visit.”

While the United Nations recognizes that all refugees have the right to return to their home countries, UNHCR assessed that the situation in Rakhine State “is currently not conducive to the safe and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees.” he said.

UN confirms support for Myanmar delegation

The move comes as the Burmese military junta and the Bangladesh government are working on a pilot project to repatriate Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar border district to Burma, mediated by the Chinese Communist government.

Epoch Times photo
A Rohingya refugee watches ICJ proceedings at a restaurant in a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, December 12, 2019. (Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

Bangladeshi officials said. Reuters It was announced last week that some 1,140 Rohingya refugees, including several newborns, would be repatriated to Burma through a pilot project. It is still unknown when the project will start.

In a statement on Sunday, UNHCR said it “supports efforts that could lead to the identification of all refugees and pave the way for their eventual repatriation.”

“This recently included providing logistical support to members of the Myanmar delegation to travel to Bangladesh for the technology validation process,” the agency said.

“It seriously undermines the neutrality of the United Nations.”

MAP, a London-based NGO that has filed criminal cases against members of the Burmese security forces, has condemned UN support for the return of Rohingya refugees to Burma.

MAP director Chris Gunness said the UN had joined the pilot project despite assessing the situation in Burma as not safe enough for Rohingya refugees to return.

Gunness said UN support for repatriation of Rohingya refugees was ‘a PR piece’ [public relations] To show the world that planned elections are free, fair and supported by the people of Myanmar. ”

“The UN endorsement of this blatant junta propaganda ahead of fake elections raises UN involvement in the Rohingya genocide to new lows,” he said in a statement.

Gunness said removing the UN mark from the boat would “severely undermine the neutrality of the United Nations” and “endanger the delivery of aid across the country and endanger the lives of humanitarian workers.” will be,” he said.

“Now that the United Nations has admitted to disguising UN vehicles to transport junta officials, who can trust the United Nations?” he said.

US accuses Burmese junta of genocide

Since the Burmese Citizenship Act of 1982, Rohingya have been denied citizenship in Burma. The United Nations said more than 700,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh due to the 2017 military crackdown.

Last March, US Secretary of State Anthony Brinken said the Burmese military had carried out genocide against the Rohingya in a “widespread and systematic” manner, providing clear evidence of intent to destroy the ethnic minority in whole or in part. showed that.

Rohingya man just before being killed by security forces
Ten Rohingya men with their hands tied kneel as members of the Burmese security forces stand guard in Indin village on September 2, 2017. The same man’s body is reportedly pictured inside a shallow grave where he was hacked and shot. (File photo/Reuters)

Citing a 2018 State Department report that surveyed more than 1,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, Blinken said the findings show Burmese military violence against Rohingya “is not an isolated case.” said.

Three-quarters of those surveyed claimed to have witnessed military killings, and more than half claimed to have witnessed acts of sexual violence. One in five he witnessed a mass casualty incident in which more than 100 people were killed or injured in one incident.

“For those who were unaware before the coup, the brutal violence that followed has made it clear that no one is left without the Burmese army coming to their aid. said the top US diplomat.

In February 2021, the military government overthrew the elected civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi in a coup, sparking widespread protests against the coup in Burma. More than 1,100 civilians have been killed and more than 250,000 displaced since the military came to power. according to to the United Nations