United Nations team visiting Rohingya refugees

Nur works in the evenings so he can run BRC. Image The British Rohingya Community  Facebook

The UN Security Council will press Myanmar to ensure that Rohingya who fled the country can return home in safety and freedom, an envoy said Monday after UN diplomats ended a tour of Bangladesh's refugee camps. "They have killed my family members, they tortured us, they will kill us again", said one of the refugees, 29-year-old Mohammed Tayab, who stood in front of a tent where he was waiting to meet the United Nations team.

Led by Kuwait, Britain and Peru, the four-day Security Council visit is expected to include a meeting with Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, as well as a helicopter flight over Rakhine to allow delegates to see the remains of villages torched during the violence. The visit is the highest-profile diplomatic mission since last year's military crackdown that displaced 700,000 Muslim Rohingya.

Bangladesh and Myanmar signed the repatriation deal in November after almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims crossed the border following the military crackdown in Rakhine state of Myanmar.

However, deputy Russian ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy, whose country has supported Myanmar, warned that the council did not have a "magic stick" to resolve what is now one of the world's worst refugee crises.

The visit puts a global spotlight back on the crisis amid warnings by the United Nations, aid groups and Myanmar's panel of worldwide advisers on Rohingya issues that the coming monsoon season would likely worsen the humanitarian situation.

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Myanmar authorities consider Rohingya to be Bengali immigrants from Bangladesh, and even refrain from using the word "Rohingya", even though the protesting refugees said on Sunday they belong to Myanmar, where they have been living for centuries.

"We are standing here to demand justice as they (Burma's military) have killed our men and tortured our women so much, so we are compelled to seek justice for those abuses", Rohingya refugee Sajida Begum told Reuters.

Myanmar officials have denied the allegations and blamed Arakan Rohingya Salavation Army (ARSA) insurgents for provoking the crackdown by launching coordinated attacks on police and army outposts in Rakhine in late August.

The Security Council, meanwhile, has yet to vote on an official resolution to exert global pressure on Myanmar, although the United Nations and United States - another permanent UNSC member - both branded a brutal military crackdown in Rakhine state that drove almost 700,000 Rohingya to seek shelter in neighboring Bangladesh since last August as "ethnic cleansing".

"It may take some time but we'd like to hear from the government of Myanmar how they wish to work with the global community", she said.

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They later went to Kutupalong Camp in Bangladesh where over half a million refugees are now living.

"We are not Bengali, we are Rohingya". He claimed Myanmar soldiers shot dead his brother, uncle and a nephew.

"When we go back to NY we will consider, we will try to explore to speed up the implementation of the agreement ...for safe, free and voluntary and dignified return of the refugees", he said.

"We've signed an agreement, they (Myanmar) don't deny that they've signed the agreement", she said. "They should listen to us", he said.

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