Rohingya crisis: UN 'suppressed' report about its failure in Rakhine despite lobbying for human rights

As the Rohingya crisis is exacerbating into one of the largest humanitarian crisis, the United Nations is constantly looking for ways to blunt the effect of the mass exodus. From asking for aid from the international community to condemning the persecution of the Rohingyas in Myanmar, the United Nations seems to be doing all it can to palliate the crisis.

Nevertheless, the Rohingyas fear that the UN has failed them. While the UN is condemning world leaders for failing to find a solution to the refugee crisis, a UN commissioned report criticises the organisation's own failure in Rakhine. A copy of the report was obtained by The Guardian and it warned that the UN was not prepared to deal with the impending Rohingya crisis.

The report, submitted in May, was reportedly "suppressed" by the United Nations. It predicted a "serious deterioration" in the six months following its submission and urged the United Nations to undertake "serious contingency planning".

Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar. AP

Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar. AP

The report, entitled The Role of the United Nations in Rakhine state, was commissioned by Renata Lok-Dessallien, the United Nations resident coordinator and the organisation's most senior figure in Myanmar. It made 16 recommendations.

Sources told The Guardian that the paper was "spiked" and not circulated among UN and aid agencies "because Renata (Lok-Dessallien) didn't like the analysis". Lok-Dessallien is the head of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT).

BBC also reported that sources said in the four years before the current crisis, Lok-Dessallien tried to stop human rights activists travelling to Rohingya areas and isolated staff who warned that ethnic cleansing might be on its way.

Myanmar has put the United Nations on a slippery slope. While it needs help of the government and the Buddhist community to tackle the crisis, it also knows that speaking about human rights would upset the Buddhists. It is caught between two stools.

A senior United Nations staffer told BBC, "We've been pandering to the Rakhine community at the expense of the Rohingya."

"The government knows how to use us and to manipulate us and they keep on doing it, we never learn. And we can never stand up to them because we can't upset the government."

United Nations chief António Guterres asked a former senior member of the United Nations to write a memo. Titled Repositioning the UN the two-page document termed the UN mission in Myanmar "glaringly dysfunctional".

A United Nations official in Yangon told The Guardian, "human rights up front isn't being implemented. It just isn't. They can say that they are ticking some boxes but in terms of actions that lead to results we're seeing nothing."

Despite the United Nations publishing a report about the "devastating cruelty" against Rohingya in Rakhine in February this year, little was done to get prepared. The report released by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights noted that more than half the women interviewed reported having suffered rape or other forms of sexual violence. The report also said that houses were deliberately set on fire and Rohingyas were pushed inside the burning houses.

Updated Date: Oct 05, 2017 16:21 PM

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