Bangladesh seeks UNSC measures after Myanmar piles up troops along border

Bangladesh seeks UNSC measures after Myanmar piles up troops along border

Bangladesh has sought immediate steps by the UN Security Council asking Myanmar to refrain from escalating the situation and targeting the Rohingya minorities in the pretext of security operation.

Bangladesh also urged the UNSC to remind Myanmar of their responsibility to protect its civilian populations during any military or security operations.

Bangladesh Permanent Mission to the UN in New York shared the “aide memoire” with the UNSC president on recent developments near the international border between Bangladesh and Myanmar on 15 September, according to the communication.

The UNSC president has been requested to bring the issue to the attention of the Council members mentioning that Bangladesh expresses “deep concern” over the incidents, an official in Dhaka to UNB wishing to remain unnamed.

Massive movements of troops, particularly in civilian boats, without prior notice to the authorities concerned of Bangladesh may cause misunderstanding leading to untoward incidents in the international border between Bangladesh and Myanmar, Bangladesh mentioned in the letter sent to the UNSC president.

During the period of June 2020 to 10 September, around 35 incidents of significant firing were reported at different locations near the international border between Bangladesh and Myanmar, Bangladesh said.

In the early evening of September 11, around “1000 Myanmar army troops landed” in different locations in Northern Maungdaw near the international border between Bangladesh and Myanmar.

On 10 September, four Myanmar Navy ships anchored off the coast of Inn Din Village and disembarked the troops, according to the letter.

The troops were then carried overnight by about 20 civilian fishing boats along the Naf River, it reads.

The route used during the said mobilisation of forces was as close as 200 metres to the international border between the two countries at least in one point, it mentioned.

Bangladesh also mentioned about “cleansing operation” conducted overnight during September 13/14 and in the backdrop of mounting violence in Rakhine and Chin States inflicting civilian casualties.

Bangladesh said failure to ensure the protection of civilians and their properties during the security operations may lead to further influx of Myanmar citizens and residents of various ethnic background to Bangladesh.

Bangladesh stressed that any security operation should be undertaken with extreme care and dexterity with full respect to State responsibility of Myanmar to protect its civilian population.

On 4 June 2020, between 3pm to 5:15pm, Myanmar military and Border Guard Police conducted joint operation supported by military helicopter at around 500 yards inside Myanmar from the international boundary near BP 35.

The operation was carried out without giving prior information to Bangladesh.

“The growing incidents of firing and clashes on the Myanmar side near the international border pose a threat to peace and stability in the border areas,” the aide memoire said.

In the view above, Bangladesh demands immediate withdrawal of the troops deployed in areas close to the borders.

In a separate letter to Naypyidaw on 14 September, Dhaka also called on Myanmar to immediately withdraw the troops and respect its commitment regarding exchange of information about any civilian and military activities near the international border.

Bangladesh said such efforts by Myanmar may undermine the efforts of both governments to maintain peace and stability in the bordering areas and promote friendly relations between the two neighbours.

Last week, the foreign ministry summoned Myanmar ambassador to Bangladesh Aung Kyaw Moe and protested the visible movement of Myanmar military very close to the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

The Myanmar ambassador was summoned to the office of director general (DG-Myanmar Wing) Delwar Hossain.

Bangladesh noticed suspicious movements of Myanmar military forces on fishing trawlers close to the maritime international border since Friday.

The Bangladesh side asked Myanmar to stop such suspicious movements so that no misunderstanding takes place between the two countries.

Such movements of the military along the international border might create panic among Rohingyas living on both sides of the border, sources said.

Bangladesh remains vigilant along the border with Myanmar and it sees no scope for any untoward incident.

Myanmar did not inform Bangladesh beforehand about such deployment though there is a practice to share with neighbouring countries.

The national election in Myanmar is approaching and there are always changes internally ahead of any election and this might be part of this.

On the situation in Rakhine more broadly, it is now more than three years since over 700,000 Rohingyas were forcibly displaced from their homes to Bangladesh because of violence perpetrated by the Myanmar military.

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