UN / MYANMAR

13-Feb-2018 00:03:57
UN refugee agency chief Filippo Grandi told the Security Council today that conditions are “not yet conducive to the voluntary repatriation” of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar as the causes of their flight “have not been addressed.” UNIFEED / FILE
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STORY: UN / MYANMAR
TRT: 03:57
SOURCE: UNIFEED / UNHCR
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT UNHCR FOOTAGE ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 13 FEBRUARY 2018, NEW YORK CITY / FILE
SHOTLIST
UNIFEED - FILE - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UNHQ exterior

UNIFEED – 13 FEBRUARY 2018, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Security Council
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees:
“Let me be clear. Conditions are not yet conducive to the voluntary repatriation of Rohingya refugees. The causes of their flight have not been addressed, and we have yet to see substantive progress on addressing the exclusion and denial of rights that have deepened over the last decade, rooted in their lack of citizenship. But, preserving the right of return and pursuing the conditions that will enable it to be exercised must remain a central priority.”
4. Med shot, ambassadors
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees:
“We are now in a race against time as a major new emergency looms. The monsoon season will start in March. We estimated that more than 100,000 refugees are living in areas prone to flooding or landslides. Tens of thousands of particularly vulnerable refugees need to be urgently relocated. Their lives are at grave risk.”
6. Med shot, Myanmar ambassador
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Miroslav Jenca, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, United Nations:
“The majority of humanitarian organizations that previously worked in Rakhine are simply not allowed to enter the area. A handful of organizations are given travel authorizations but in a short-term and unpredictable manner that impedes the systematic delivery of assistance. The UN does not have sufficient access to make a meaningful assessment of the humanitarian and / or human rights situation.”
8. Wide shot, Security Council
9. SOUNDBITE (English) U Hau Do Suan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Myanmar to the United Nations:
“Mr President, the case of the two Reuters reporters has attracted much attention in recent weeks. Myanmar recognizes freedom of press and they were not arrested for reporting. The two reporters are charged under Official Secret Act for illegally possessing confidential government documents. Every citizen is bound by the existing law of land. It is important that the action of a journalist must also be within the bound of the law. In accordance with the judicial procedure, they have full legal rights as defendants in the course of legal proceeding.”
10. Med shot, ambassadors
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Masud Bin Momen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations:
“These latest entrants have cited the following as grounds for their continued exodus: Persistent threats from both security forces and armed vigilantes, and occurrence of sporadic and indiscriminate violence; Acute food shortage and forced starvation due to restraints imposed in harvesting their crops; Burning down of and denial access to local market, essential supply cut-off, theft of livestock and restriction on humanitarian assistance; Forced closure of business and lack of livelihood options; and, Alleged abduction of girls and young women as well as sexual violence and
enslavement.”

UNHCR – FILE - 1 FEBRUARY 2018, KUTAPALONG REFUGEE SETTLEMENT, COX’S BAZAR, BANGLADESH

12. Aerial shot, makeshift shacks
13. Wide shot, makeshift shacks
14. Med shot, woman climbing steep hill
15. Various shots, kids carrying firewood
16. Wide shot, makeshift shacks
17. Wide shot, refugee lining sandbags
18. Close up, refugee lining sandbags

UNHCR – FILE - 27 OCTOBER 2017, KUTAPALONG REFUGEE SETTLEMENT, COX’S BAZAR, BANGLADESH

19. Wide shot, waiting room at feeding centre
20. Med shot, child crying
21. Close up, child crying
22. Wide shot, women with children at feeding centre
STORYLINE
UN refugee agency chief Filippo Grandi told the Security Council today (13 Feb) that conditions are “not yet conducive to the voluntary repatriation” of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar as the causes of their flight “have not been addressed.”

Speaking to the Council via teleconference from Geneva, Grandi said it was critical that the Bangladesh-Myanmar border remains open and those still fleeing can access safety as violence continues in the country. He noted that some 688,000 Myanmar refugees had gone to Bangladesh in the past six months and there had not been “substantive progress on addressing the exclusion and denial of rights that have deepened over the last decade, rooted in their lack of citizenship.” He added that preserving the right of return and “pursuing the conditions that will enable it to be exercised must remain a central priority.”

The refugee agency chief said the Kutapalong area in Cox’s Bazar is now the largest refugee settlement in the world, with its own character, economy, and emerging social structures. He stressed that resolving the crisis means finding solutions inside Myanmar, however in the meantime, significant support will be required in Bangladesh. Grandi said the Bangladeshi government was working to assist the refugee population but noted that international support must be stepped up.

SOUNDBITE (English) Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees:
“We are now in a race against time as a major new emergency looms. The monsoon season will start in March. We estimated that more than 100,000 refugees are living in areas prone to flooding or landslides. Tens of thousands of particularly vulnerable refugees need to be urgently relocated. Their lives are at grave risk.”

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenca said, although large-scale acts of violence have subsided, concerns about threats and intimidation against the remaining Rohingya population from Bamar and Raldfine communities, as well as from militia and security forces in Rakhine State, persist. He stressed that humanitarian access in the affected areas remains severely curtailed as “the majority of humanitarian organizations that previously worked in Rakhine are simply not allowed to enter the area.” As such, Jenca said the UN did not have sufficient access to make a “meaningful assessment of the humanitarian and / or human rights situation.”

Jenca also expressed concern over ongoing fighting between the Government and ethnic armed organizations in Kachin and northern Shan states. He said the fighting had cast a shadow on peace negotiations, and provoked a number of serious human rights and humanitarian concerns. He noted however that two ethnic armed organizations, the New Mon State Party (NMSP) and the Lahu Democratic Union (LDU) signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) in Nay Pyi Taw today marking the first signing of its kind for the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) government and bringing the total number of ethnic armed groups that have signed the NCA to ten out of sixteen.

Myanmar’s ambassador U Hau Do Suan said his country had made great strides in preparation for the repatriation of displaced persons from the Maungdaw area and significant progress with the Government of Bangladesh for the return of the displaced. He said Myanmar has provided to Bangladesh a list of 508 Hindus and 750 Muslims who have been verified as Myanmar residents, to be included in the first batch of repatriation, in an effort to expedite implementation of the repatriation.

The Myanmar ambassador said returnees would be received at two reception centres, Taung Pyo Letwe and Nga Khu Ya, then temporarily accommodated at Hla Phoe Kaung transit camp before permanent settlement. He said the centres would initially receive 150 returnees each per day to ensure smooth and safe return, with the number being increased based on the progress of the return.

Regarding the two Reuters reporters who were recently arrested in Myanmar, U Hau said his country recognizes freedom of the press adding that “they were not arrested for reporting.” He said the two reporters were charged under Official Secret Act for illegally possessing confidential government documents, stressing that “every citizen is bound by the existing law of land; it is important that the action of a journalist must also be within the bound of the law.” The ambassador assed that in accordance with the judicial procedure, the journalists had “full legal rights as defendants in the course of legal proceeding.”

Bangladeshi ambassador Masud Bin Momen said based on his country’s experience, it was apparent that the ground was not conducive for a safe and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees to their homes and villages. He added that one major restraining factor to voluntary return among the displaced is the fact that, despite Myanmar's otherwise claims, the influx of the Rohingya into Bangladesh continues unabated, including the arrival of 1,500 people in the first ten days of this month alone.

SOUNDBITE (English) Masud Bin Momen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations:
“These latest entrants have cited the following as grounds for their continued exodus: Persistent threats from both security forces and armed vigilantes, and occurrence of sporadic and indiscriminate violence; Acute food shortage and forced starvation due to restraints imposed in harvesting their crops; Burning down of and denial access to local market, essential supply cut-off, theft of livestock and restriction on humanitarian assistance; Forced closure of business and lack of livelihood options; and, Alleged abduction of girls and young women as well as sexual violence and enslavement.”

Bin Momen said prospective returnees have made it clear that they do not expect to go back to Myanmar to stay in camps, and would like to have assurance from the international community about the possibility of resettling to the original villages, regaining their agricultural land and business ventures as well as access to traditional fishing, and freedom of movement to conduct a normal life.
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