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India lashes out against ‘powerless’ UN Security Council

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United Nations: Calling the Security Council ineffective and powerless, India has lashed out against its lack of accountability and transparency in mandating peacekeeping operations and blamed it for the rising casualties among peacekeepers.

“We are dismayed at the opaque manner in which the Security Council continues to mandate peace operations, without any accountability or transparency,” India’s Permanent Representative Asoke Kumar Mukerji said Monday at a General Assembly session on peacekeeping operations.

“The human costs of this failing are evident in both the rising number of casualties among UN peacekeepers, as well as an alarming growth in the number of civilians, now reaching 60 million according to the Secretary General, whose lives are being disrupted by the conflicts that an ineffective Security Council is powerless to resolve,” Mukerji added.

As of the end of September, 85 peacekeepers have died this year.

Mukerji appealed to Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft to “take the lead to prioritise agreement on an early reform of the Security Council during this 70th Session.”

He also reiterated India’s consistent demand the implementation “in letter and spirit” the UN Charter provisions that require the Security Council to consult with troop-providing countries when issuing peacekeeping mandates.

Speaking at the session, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also backed the call for better coordination between the Security Council and the troop-contributors. “A shared understanding of the tasks involved between the Security Council and the troop and police contributing countries was required, as was cooperation with national actors and local communities,” he said.

The session was centered on Ban’s report on implementing the recommendations of the High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) which was headed by Jose Ramos-Horta and included Abhijit Guha, a retired Indian lieutenant general.

Mukerji said that implementation report had great importance for India, which is the largest overall troop contributor to UN peace operations, with over 185,000 troops that have served in 48 of the 69 UN missions. India currently has 7,794 personnel under UN’s blue flag.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has offered to increase India’s troop-contribution by 10 percent when he participated at a summit on peacekeeping last month, Mukerji said. India would also be adding three police battalions with a high proportion of women and provide training for peacekeepers from other nations, he added.

Mukerji welcomed the “renewed focus on prevention and mediation” in Ban’s plan for implementing the HIPPO. All the 42 speakers at the session supported the emphasis on political solutions to end or prevent conflicts to maintain peace.

South Asian countries are among the largest contributor of personnel to the UN peacekeeping operations. Bangladesh, which is currently the largest contributor, has 9,432 personnel in UN missions, Pakistan 7,533 and Nepal 5,346.

Pakistan’s Permanent Representative also welcomed the proposal for better consultations with troop-contributing countries. Like many others, she opposed deploying peacekeepers for counter-terrorism operations.

Bangladesh Deputy Permanent Representative Sadia Faizunnesa called for involving all the countries sending troops to the UN operations in implementing the HIPPO recommendations.

(Arul Louis, IANS)

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UN Security Council members move to Bangladesh and Myanmar for Rohingya crisis

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the overall population of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar in Bangladesh is currently estimated to be over 1 million.

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Members of the UN Security Council have left for Bangladesh and Myanmar to study the Rohingya crisis.
Representational Image, pixabay

Members of the UN Security Council have left for Bangladesh and Myanmar to study the Rohingya crisis.

The 15-member panel made a stopover in Kuwait on Friday before flying to Bangladesh where they will visit capital Dhaka and refugee camps in the Cox’s Bazar area, officials said.

After visiting the camps in Bangladesh over the weekend the members will arrive in the Myanmar capital of Nay Pyi Taw on Monday, reports Xinhua news agency.

They will also visit areas in Rakhine state that were affected by the violence beginning last August and from where most of the refugees fled.

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the overall population of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar in Bangladesh is currently estimated to be over 1 million.

Some 670,000 of them arrived in Bangladesh after Rohingya militants launched a deadly attack on Myanmar government forces in Rakhine on August 25, 2017.

Some 8,000 new refugees have arrived since January, Chief UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here on Friday.
Stephane Dujarric, IANS

Some 8,000 new refugees have arrived since January, Chief UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here on Friday.

“The government and people of Bangladesh have displayed extraordinary generosity toward Rohingya refugees, with support by the international community,” he said.

“The latest round of food distribution reached over 470,000 people. Over 5,000 tube wells and 47,000 latrines have been built, and more than 90,000 children have received primary school education.”

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Humanitarian partners on the ground have also conducted protection monitoring missions to support survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and are also strengthening preparedness efforts to the upcoming cyclone and monsoon season, Dujarric said.

The Cox’s Bazar region of Bangladesh have hosted thousands of Rohingya who had fled Rakhine state before the August incident.

The Rohingya are ethnic Muslims living in the Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

Most of the refugees do not have Myanmar citizenship. (IANS)