Rohingya exodus from their homeland, making their way to Bangladesh
Rohingya exodus from their homeland, making their way to Bangladesh Reuters

Myanmar has lost the support of nine countries of Africa and the Pacific on the issue of human rights of Rohingya and other minorities in the South Asian nation. These countries have changed their vote from 'abstention' to 'yes' on a proposal at the plenary session of UN General Assembly on Thursday night.

These nine countries are Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Namibia, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Tanzania, Palau and Solomon Islands. They abstained from voting on the proposals at the UN General Assembly in 2019.

The development on Saturday came from diplomatic sources in New York, the Facebook page of Myanmar’s foreign ministry and a Twitter account of an Annan Commission member.

Other than Myanmar, countries voting against the proposal on Thursday were China, Russia, Belarus, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Vietnam and Zimbabwe
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Other than Myanmar, countries voting against the proposal on Thursday were China, Russia, Belarus, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. Twenty-five countries including three in South Asia – India, Sri Lanka and Nepal as well as Japan - absented from voting.

Last November, the European Union (EU) and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) placed the proposal at the UN’s third committee, highlighting the interim order of International Court of Justice (ICJ), investigation of International Criminal Court (ICC) and Myanmar’s continuous depriving the Rohingya and the other minority groups of rights including elections.

The proposal emphasised a number of measures Myanmar must take including citizenship for Rohingyas and creation of conductive environment for their repatriation.

Myanmar foreign ministry said the proposal taken to the third committee on Thursday has been decided at the 48th plenary session of the 75th UN General Assembly (UNGA 75). Myanmar called for a vote before the plenary session’s decision.

Dutch Ambassador and member of Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, known as the Annan Commission, Laetitia van den Assum, tweeted on Friday, “On 31 Dec the UNGA plenary finally adopted its resolution on #Myanmar and the human rights situation of Rohingya and other minorities by 130 in favour to 9 against, with 25 abstentions.”

“Adoption of the resolution had been delayed over budgetary questions about the Myanmar investigation mechanism (IIMM) and other issues,” she further tweeted.

As expected, the Permanent Representative of Myanmar to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, opposed the proposal saying the consequence of creating political pressure over the Rakhain situation will not bring any good. Citing the move illogical, he said Myanmar will not tolerate the abuse of the UN power on human rights issues and creating pressure on the country. Rejecting the proposal, he said it will not solve crisis in the Rakhine state.

The EU-OIC proposal, however, highly praised the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for setting a humanitarian precedence by sheltering and protecting the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

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