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No community more discriminated against than Rohingya: UN chief

New Delhi, Oct 2 (IANS) There is no community in the world more discriminated against than the Rohingya people of Myanmar, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday.

Delivering a public lecture on “Global Challenges, Global Solutions” here, Guterres said that the people of the Rohingya community cannot get married without permission and their children don’t get access to basic education.

“In Myanmar, there is a very deep-rooted sense of racism (against the Rohingya),” he said.

“The Myanmar President asked me to resettle them (Rohingya) in another country, but I said I can’t do that.”

Guterres said that even if some members of the Rohingya community made some provocative acts, the response from the Myanmar army was “absolutely brutal”.

He said the Myanmar government and the military should be convinced about the plight of the Rohingya people and India should play a role in this.

A new crisis erupted in August last year following an attack by a Rohingya insurgent group that led to a violent response by the Myanmar Army in Rakhine state.

This resulted in an exodus of Rohingya refugees from the Rakhine State in Myanmar to Bangladesh.

New Delhi has sent relief material for the refugees in both Rakhine and Bangladesh.

The Rohingya people do not enjoy citizenship status in Myanmar and are sparingly given refugee status in Bangladesh.

On Monday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that Indian states have been told to identify the Rohingya people living in the country and send their biometric details to the Centre.

“The states are directed to identify the Rohingyas and collect their biometric details. The states need to send the reports to the Central government,” Singh said while chairing the 23rd meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council in Kolkata.

There are around 40,000 Rohingya refugees in India, but the government has sent a clear message that it was not willing to accept them because of security concerns.

In December last year, India and Myanmar signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop Rakhine State.

It was the first government-to-government agreement signed between New Delhi and its eastern neighbour focussed on socio-economic development and livelihood initiatives in Rakhine State.

It is intended to help the Myanmar government achieve its objective of restoration of normalcy in Rakhine State and enable the return of displaced persons.

In his speech, Guterres said that “massive physical investmenta needs to be made in Myanmar for relief for the Rohingya people.

He also lamented the fact that fundamentalism has crept into a peaceful religion like Buddhism in that Southeast Asian nation.



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