Boris Johnson shakes hand with Aung San Suu Kyi in Neypytaw.
Boris Johnson shakes hand with Aung San Suu Kyi in Neypytaw.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Sunday had a meeting with Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and reportedly urged her that the UN refugee agency must be allowed to supervise the return of Rohingya refugees.

Johnson and Suu Kyi discussed repatriation and developments in Rakhine, the western Myanmar state from where the Rohingyas have fled over the past few months, said a statement from Myanmar’s Foreign Affairs Ministry as reported.

The British Foreign Secretary arrived in Myanmar from Bangladesh, where he visited camps of the Rohingya refugees.

Regarding his meeting with Suu Kyi, Johnson stated in his Twitter handle on Sunday, “Discussed importance of Burmese authorities in carrying out full & independent investigation into the violence in #Rakhine & urgent need to create the right conditions for #Rohingya refugees to return to their homes in Rakhine.”

The meeting took place in Myanmar’s national capital Naypyidaw.

After visiting Rohingya refugees at Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, Johnson on Saturday stated, “I pay tribute to the hospitality and compassion shown by the government of Bangladesh, who are facing an enormous challenge in providing humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya community.”

The Rohingyas have long faced severe discrimination and were the targets of violence in 2012 that killed hundreds and drove about 140,000 people, mainly Rohingyas, from their homes in Rakhine state to the camps for the internally displaced people.

The Myanmar government faced flak from across the world and the United Nations termed the Myanmar army as ‘ethnic cleansing’. However, Myanmar’s government has denied carrying out any large-scale or organized abuses against the Rohingya Muslims as reported.

Myanmar government is not in favour of recognizing the Rohingyas as a legitimate native ethnic minority and most of the Rohingyas have been denied citizenship.

Welcoming the steps being taken for repatriation of the Rohingyas by both the Myanmar and Bangladeshi governments so that Rohingyas can safely return to their homes, Johnson said, “It is vital that the Rohingya refugees must be allowed to their homes in Rakhine voluntarily, in safety and with dignity, under international oversight, and when the conditions in Burma are right.”

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