Refugees Continue to Flow in, Says Bangladesh Delegate, as Myanmar Counterpart Outlines Efforts for Safe Returns of Rohingya People
Describing “the most heartbreaking and horrific” accounts of sexual atrocities against girls and women in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, the Special Representative of the Secretary‑General for Sexual Violence in Conflict told the Security Council today that every woman or girl she had spoken with had either endured brutal assault or had witnessed sexual violence, including seeing women literally being raped to death.
Pramila Patten, reporting on her recent visit to Rohingya refugees in camps in Bangladesh, said those shocking accounts indicated a pattern of grave violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. Sexual violence was being used as a push factor for forced displacement on a massive scale, with some survivors being told to leave because they were not citizens of Myanmar. It was crucial that safe return of the Rohingya people be accompanied by basic security and guaranteed rights. Otherwise, the cycle of violence, impunity and forced displacement risked being repeated if the underlying conditions did not change.
She urged the Security Council to demand a swift end to the atrocities, to ensure accountability to perpetrators, to create conditions for a safe and dignified future for survivors and to ensure unhindered humanitarian. In addition, an impartial, independent mechanism for investigation of crimes should be created, with those found implicated in abuses removed from positions of responsibility and prosecuted. Commending the Government and people of Bangladesh for their efforts on behalf of the displaced Rohingya, she reported that, tragically, the displacement and abuses that drove it were still continuing. “Inaction is not an option,” she stressed.
Jeffrey Feltman, Under‑Secretary‑General for Political Affairs, said that although violence in Rakhine State had subsided, new Rohingya refugees continued to arrive in Bangladesh, including more than 36,000 unaccompanied children. The estimated number of refugees entering Bangladesh since 25 August was now exceeding 626,000. Welcoming the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Myanmar and Bangladesh, he urged all Myanmar leaders adopt measures to defuse tensions and create an environment for safe and dignified repatriation of refugees and internally displaced persons, including through interfaith initiatives.
The complex challenges in Rakhine required civilian‑military coordination, he emphasized. While the efforts by regional and other Member States in helping Myanmar address areas beyond Rakhine, including the peace process, were much appreciated, the 2020 elections would stand as an important test in the consolidation of the nation’s democratic institutions. The effort to achieve peace between the Government and various ethnic armed organizations was a cornerstone of that transition. The appointment of a Special Envoy by the Secretary‑General could strengthen the United Nations partnership with Myanmar in close consultations with interested Member States in the region and beyond, he said.
Myanmar’s representative emphasized that his Government did not condone human rights abuses and, if provided with concrete evidence, would take legal action against transgressors. His country had embraced the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State as a road map to solving the root causes of the problem and was committed to implementing those recommendations. However, noting the Security Council’s recent presidential statement on Myanmar, the approval by the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) of an almost identical draft text, as well as the Human Rights Council’s adoption of another draft resolution on the subject, he reiterated his country’s objection to such discriminatory and selective application of overlapping action.
Bangladesh’s delegate said his country was continuing to receive an average of 100 to 400 Rohingya people daily, with many of them arriving following alleged coercion to accept national verification documents designating them as Bengalis. Although his Government’s agreement with Myanmar was a critical first step, he cautioned that repatriation within a reasonable time frame must not be taken as license to prolong the process over an indefinite period. At the same time, he called on the Myanmar authorities to end divisive policies, including the State policy of treating the Rohingya as illegal immigrants, and he urged the Council to act as the custodian of the bilateral process, as well as the rights of the Rohingya people.
Council members welcomed the Memorandum of Understanding between Myanmar and Bangladesh and Myanmar’s commitment to implement the recommendations of the Advisory Commission. However, speakers also expressed concern at continued violence and human rights violations and called for accountability for the perpetrators of crimes, including sexual violence, as well as unhindered access for humanitarian workers.
China’s representative said a three‑stage approach had been proposed, including the ceasing of hostilities. While that goal had been reached, it was crucial to prevent any recurrence of conflicts. The international community should encourage consultations between Myanmar and Bangladesh. However, the problem of Rakhine State had religious and historical backgrounds, and a solution could not be reached overnight. He cautioned that Council action, while offering short‑term relief, could also cause negative effects in the long term.
The Russian Federation’s delegate underlined the importance of refraining from counterproductive condemnations against Myanmar and accusations of genocide of Muslims. What was needed first and foremost was goodwill between the two countries, Myanmar and Bangladesh, as well as all parties, he said, adding that the situation was caused by the activities of previous colonial administrations.
Japan’s representative, describing bilateral meetings between Japanese and Myanmar officials, said that punitive action had been urged against serious violators of human rights. Commending Bangladesh on its response to humanitarian needs, and welcoming recent efforts by Myanmar to improve access, he reported on his country’s significant contribution to priority needs for displaced persons. Japan was ready to further support the two countries to move such efforts forward to improve the situation on the ground. The international community, as well, must continue to support Myanmar’s efforts to seek long‑term solutions, including implementation of the recommendations.
Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, United States, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Sweden, Ethiopia, France, Italy, Bolivia, Uruguay, Senegal and Ukraine.
The meeting began at 3:10 p.m. and ended at 5:21 p.m.
JEFFREY FELTMAN, Under‑Secretary‑General for Political Affairs, said the estimated number of refugees entering Bangladesh since 25 August was now exceeding 626,000. Welcoming the signing of the memorandum of understanding between Myanmar and Bangladesh on the return of Rohingya refugees, he added that he was encouraged by the announcement that the Advisory Commission and the Committee for Implementation of the Recommendations of Rakhine State would meet in January. He urged all Myanmar leaders, including the military, to condemn incitement to racial hatred and violence, and instead encouraged them to adopt measures to defuse tensions and create an environment for safe and dignified repatriation, including through interfaith initiatives.
He said that although violence had subsided, new refugees continued to arrive in Bangladesh, including more than 36,000 unaccompanied children. In addition, recent satellite imagery had revealed renewed fires and destruction in different villages. Humanitarian access to Rakhine State remained insufficient. The origins and solutions to the Rohingya crisis rested in Myanmar, he said, stressing that repatriation and reconciliation policies would fail without accountability and non‑discriminatory rule of law, as well as public measures to address the fears and distrust among Rakhine communities.
The 23 November bilateral agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh had recognized the need for a comprehensive and durable solution through the safe, dignified and voluntary return of refugees in accordance with international law, he said. However, returns must be supported by reconciliation efforts, including the implementation of the Advisory Commission’s recommendations. Expanding freedom of movement was essential to achieving commitments on access to basic services and livelihoods. More so, eligibility criteria for return must be applied in the broadest possible manner.
While voicing his appreciation for the role of neighbouring countries, particularly China, in supporting the bilateral agreement, he emphasized that strengthened regional cooperation with Myanmar would be essential. In that regard, he welcomed Myanmar’s engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The recently established Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine (Union Enterprise Mechanism) aimed to support cooperation between the Government and all sectors, he said, urging that there be tangible action and implementation of commitments.
The complex challenges in Rakhine required civilian‑military coordination, he continued. Appreciating efforts by regional and other Member States in helping Myanmar address areas beyond Rakhine, including the peace process, he said the 2020 elections would stand as an important test in the consolidation of the nation’s democratic institutions. The effort to achieve peace between the Government and various ethnic armed organizations was a cornerstone of that transition. All eight signatories had shown a sustained commitment to the October 2015 Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, but the momentum in the peace process was slowing.
Noting the resolution expected to be approved by the General Assembly requesting the Secretary‑General to appoint a Special Envoy on Myanmar, he said he wanted that initiative to strengthen the Organization’s partnership with Myanmar in close consultations with interested Member States in the region and beyond.
PRAMILA PATTEN, Special Representative of the Secretary‑General for Sexual Violence in Conflict, described her recent visit to Rohingya refugees in camps in Bangladesh where survivors had conveyed to her the most heartbreaking and horrific accounts of sexual atrocities. The recounts of those crimes, which survivors said were committed in cold blood out of a lethal hatred for the Rohingya community, were consistent and were corroborated by international medical staff and others. Every woman or girl she spoke with reported having either endured or witnessed sexual violence, including rape, gang rape, women literally being raped to death, forced public nudity and humiliation and sexual slavery in military captivity. One survivor described captivity by the Myanmar Armed Forces for 45 days, during which time she was raped over and over again. Most shared details of how the brutal acts occurred in the context of persecution, which began long before August 2017 and included looting, torture and the slaughter of civilians, including newborn babies.
Those shocking accounts indicated a pattern of grave violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in the context of military operations, she said. Sexual violence served as a push factor for forced displacement on a massive scale, with some survivors being told to leave because they were not citizens of Myanmar. All the women she spoke to said they wanted to see the perpetrators punished. Some expressed a desire to return home if granted equal rights, but others said they had nothing to return to, with some fearing death if they did. Therefore, it was crucial that safe return be accompanied by basic security and guaranteed rights. There was a serious risk of the repeat of the cycle of violence, impunity and forced displacement if the underlying conditions did not change.
The Governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh must be supported in order to ensure that refugee returns were truly voluntary, based on informed consent in safe and dignified conditions that paved the way for lasting peace, she stressed, extending the full support of her office towards that aim. That assistance could include technical assistance in law reform and capacity‑building of the national security forces to foster compliance with international standards, including zero tolerance for sexual abuse. The United Nations Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict, the inter‑agency network she chaired, could also be mobilized to support the survivors of sexual abuse. However, such programmes to counter gender‑based violence were underfunded, she noted.
She also urged the Security Council to demand a swift end to the atrocities, to ensure accountability to perpetrators, to create conditions for a safe and dignified future for survivors and to ensure unhindered humanitarian access through adoption of an appropriate resolution. As well, the Council should further consider sending a delegation to Myanmar and Bangladesh. In addition, an impartial, independent mechanism for investigation of crimes should be created, with those found implicated in abuses removed from positions of responsibility and prosecuted. Commending the Government and people of Bangladesh for their actions on behalf of the displaced Rohingya, she reported that, tragically, the displacement and abuses that drove it were still continuing. Ethnic cleansing must never be allowed to achieve its goal, she underscored, adding, “Inaction is not an option.”
JONATHAN GUY ALLEN (United Kingdom) welcomed recent steps, including the recent agreement concerning the voluntary return of refugees between Myanmar and Bangladesh and the recommendations of the Advisory Commission, which were a blueprint for the future. However, more remained to be done, he stressed, noting that the voluntary return of refugees was being prevented by the conditions in Rakhine State. Apart from being guaranteed a dignified return, refugees should also be offered a pathway to citizenship. The Council had called for investigations into serious human rights violations, but so far, there had been a whitewash by the military. The Government had continued to restrict access, leaving the supporting of refugees to the Bangladesh Government, which was providing life‑saving shelter. More funding was needed to support Bangladesh’s efforts. Commenting on the possible appointment of a Special Envoy, he called on Myanmar to engage in good faith. The Council must be ready to take action to ensure protection, justice and progress.
WU HAITAO (China), noting the positive evaluation of events in Rakhine State, said China had supported Myanmar in efforts to establish stability and address the issue of displaced persons. A three‑stage approach had been proposed, including the ceasing of hostilities. That goal had been reached, he said, but it was crucial to prevent any recurrence of conflicts. The international community should encourage consultations between Myanmar and Bangladesh. Root causes should be addressed, including poverty. The problem of Rakhine State had religious and historical backgrounds, and a solution could not be reached overnight. Noting that Myanmar was implementing the recommendations of the Advisory Commission, he said the situation should be addressed through bilateral channels between Bangladesh and Myanmar, as Council action might offer short‑term relief, but cause negative effects in the long term.
NIKKI R. HALEY (United States), stressing that the suffering of the Rohingya people was unimaginable, rejected any effort to play down the magnitude of ethnic cleansing. There had been no action to hold those responsible for atrocities, and Burmese authorities had denied all allegations. Full access for the fact‑finding mission was crucial in finding a solution to the crisis, she said, stressing that the atrocities included ethnic cleansing, including by the Burmese security forces. She called on Burma to allow unhindered access to all humanitarian actors. Expressing her gratitude for the Government of Bangladesh to host a large number of refugees, she encouraged the country to cooperate with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She also stated her hope that the international community would step up to support the Organization’s response and demand that independent investigators be allowed to enter the country.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation), welcoming steps being taken to ease the situation in Rakhine State, said that there was no means of resolving the crisis other than through political dialogue. Condemning violence committed against Muslims there, he also said he expected that the agreements for safe returns would be implemented. In order to ensure that it occurred and that tensions were lowered, he urged practical assistance for the Myanmar Government and mediation by the United Nations to enable dialogue between all parties. However, it was necessary to refrain from counterproductive condemnations against Myanmar and accusations of genocide of Muslims. What was needed first and foremost was goodwill between the two countries involved, as well as all parties. The situation was caused by the activities of previous colonial administrations and now must be worked out by the two countries with the assistance of the international community.
KAIRAT UMAROV (Kazakhstan) welcomed the actions of Bangladesh in assisting the Rohingya refugees, the provision of aid by the international community and the agreement signed between Bangladesh and Myanmar for safe, voluntary return of the refugees. A credible, national investigation of the grave violations of human rights reported in Rakhine State was needed, with the perpetrators brought to justice. The recommendations of the Advisory Commission should also be heeded and statelessness, poverty and other issues must be addressed. A favourable atmosphere for negotiations for the peaceful advancement of Rakhine State must be encouraged through international assistance.
AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) said that the atrocities described in the briefings could not be allowed to continue or to be repeated. Welcoming the agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar to allow the return of refugees, he stressed that the Myanmar Government must abide by its obligations under that accord. It was also critical to put an end to hatred between ethnic or religious groups. In addition, the recommendations of the Advisory Group must be implemented, with citizenship and all rights granted to the Rohingya people. He commended efforts to promote tolerance between all groups in Myanmar, and he called on the Council to create a clear road map to ensure the safety and guaranteed rights of the Rohingya people in Myanmar. At the present time in history, it was inconceivable that such slaughter and displacement be overlooked.
OLOF SKOOG (Sweden) said numerous reports of systematic, widespread and coordinated acts of violence strongly indicated that crimes against humanity had been committed in Rakhine State. He urged the Myanmar Government to provide full access to the fact‑finding mission mandated by the Human Rights Council. It was also unacceptable that humanitarian access in that region was still severely limited, he said, calling for urgent assistance for the 865,000 people currently in need. Meanwhile, the recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Commission’s report needed to be implemented without delay. He urged the Myanmar Government to fully cooperate with the United Nations and counter any narratives and rhetoric that sought to undermine the Organization’s ability to do its work.
TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia) said the situation in Rakhine State and the movement of refugees to Bangladesh continued to be a cause for concern, as was the worsening of the humanitarian situation. It was critical to keep the humanitarian crisis from being transformed into a political or violent situation. Welcoming the Myanmar Government’s position regarding their efforts to end violence and grant safe access to humanitarian workers, he underscored the need to investigate allegations of sexual violence. While hailing the arrangement on the return of displaced persons between Bangladesh and Myanmar, he said it was important that the agreement be translated into meaningful action, underlining the importance of cooperation between the two countries.
FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) said the situation of the Rohingya was still a cause of concern, with hundreds of people continuing to flee to Bangladesh, and hundreds of villages still being burned down. Given the context of ethnic cleansing, he said the Council’s presidential statement was a road map which recognized the measures taken by Myanmar. Emphasizing the importance of the agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar, he said conditions for return were not there yet. The human rights situation was alarming, and violations should be investigated and prosecuted. Furthermore, the fact‑finding mission should be allowed to visit the country. Condemning early and forced marriage, he said the Council should be fully mobilized on the topic. He underlined the importance of three complementary areas: an end to violence; humanitarian access; and facilitating voluntary returns in line with international standards.
INIGO LAMBERTINI (Italy) said that, despite signs of easing of tensions, the situation in Rakhine State was a matter of concern. Violence must stop and humanitarian assistance must be delivered without discrimination. He commended Bangladesh for its solidarity in sheltering refugees, for which assistance by the international community was necessary. The safe, dignified and voluntary return of refugees was key to normalizing the situation, he said, calling on Bangladesh and Myanmar to continue their cooperation with the United Nations. Welcoming the announcement by the Myanmar Government regarding the recommendations of the Advisory Commission, he urged their full implementation. Accountability was fundamental, he said, expressing concern about serious allegations of sexual violence and urging that those responsible should be brought to justice.
PEDRO LUIS INCHAUSTE JORDÁN (Bolivia), reiterating his vigorous condemnation of the violence in Rakhine State, called for the investigation of sexual crimes and other violations of human rights. However, no confrontation‑based rhetoric should be employed to resolve the situation. Welcoming the agreement signed for the return of refugees, he stressed that such returns should be voluntary and safe; he welcomed the willingness of stakeholders to address the situation in a cross‑cutting manner. The work and coordination of different ministries in Myanmar would be critical. Full and unhindered humanitarian access was also a priority. Welcoming coordination between the Governments involved and aid organizations, he called for continued action to ameliorate the situation of all affected persons.
ELBIO OSCAR ROSSELLI FRIERI (Uruguay), acknowledging the cruel reality exposed in the Special Representative’s report, reiterated the need for continued attention to the situation of the Rohingya. Underlining that human rights must be at the very centre of conflict prevention, he said that civilians must be protected unconditionally, through the upholding of all applicable international law. There was no limit on the forums applicable for the discussion of human rights; therefore, it was through a human rights approach that the situation of the Rohingya in Myanmar must be addressed. An end to repression and a means of accountability for violations was needed. Protecting the population was the responsibility of the Myanmar authorities in their country. Maintaining that there were characteristics of genocide in the attacks on the Rohingya, he argued that an international investigation was warranted, and called for full facilitation of the work of the fact‑finding mission. He also commended Bangladesh and aid organizations for their assistance to the refugees.
GORGUI CISS (Senegal), paying tribute to all the humanitarian bodies who were helping the afflicted people of Rakhine State, expressed alarm at the conditions of Rohingya refugees in the camps for displaced persons. Despite all efforts to improve the situation, the road ahead was long. He highlighted the need for full humanitarian access as well as comprehensive efforts to ensure that justice was done. While welcoming the agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh, he reaffirmed that it was primary to ensure the safety of women and children. Safe, voluntary return must be ensured, and issues of citizenship and social inclusion must be addressed. Refugees must be protected against repression on their return. He called on the Council to focus its efforts on a lasting solution to the situation.
YURIY VITRENKO (Ukraine), underscoring that any targeting of the civilian population was totally unacceptable, urged the Myanmar military to show restraint, establish rule of law and bring those responsible for committing atrocities to justice. He welcomed the signing of an arrangement between Bangladesh and Myanmar on the return of displaced persons from Rakhine State; that document should create conditions for their safe and dignified return. However, expressing serious concern about the worsening humanitarian situation for refugees and internally displaced persons, he stressed the need for full and unhindered humanitarian access for the United Nations and international and non‑governmental aid agencies across Rakhine State. He further called on the Myanmar authorities to carry out the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State.
YASUHISA KAWAMURA (Japan), Council President for December, spoke in his national capacity, recounting a meeting with Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, in which the Prime Minister of Japan had expressed serious concern over the situation in Rakhine State, as well as expectations that security in accordance with the law, humanitarian access and voluntary return of displaced persons would be soon established. In other bilateral meetings between Japanese and Myanmar officials, punitive action had been urged against serious violators of human rights. Commending Bangladesh on its response to humanitarian needs, and welcoming recent efforts by Myanmar to improve access, he reported on his country’s significant contribution to priority needs for displaced persons. Welcoming the arrangement on the return of displaced persons signed between the two countries, he also said he hoped that safe, voluntary and dignified return would be steadily achieved. In addition, he welcomed the establishment of the Union Enterprise Mechanism and restoration of peace in affected communities. Japan was ready to further support the two countries to move such efforts forward to improve the situation on the ground, he said, calling on the international community to continue to closely follow the situation and support Myanmar’s efforts to seek long‑term solutions, including implementation of the recommendations of the Advisory Commission to address the root causes of the issue.
HAU DO SUAN (Myanmar) emphasized that his Government did not condone human rights abuses and, if provided with concrete evidence, would take legal action against transgressors. No effort had been spared in addressing the humanitarian, security and socioeconomic issues emerging from the 25 August terror attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army in the Maungdaw District. No major clashes with terrorists had been reported since 5 September, and most troops had withdrawn from the region. In order to establish the rule of law and sustain peace and security, the police force in Rakhine State would need to be strengthened; Japan had agreed to provide community policing training. In terms of humanitarian assistance, as of 26 November the Red Cross Movement had reached out to 29,491 households in Rakhine, providing emergency items as well as health‑care services. The ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management was also delivering assistance, and the World Food Programme (WFP) had been granted permission in late October to restart food distribution in Maungdaw and Buthidaung Township. The World Health Organization (WHO) was also providing medical support.
As for repatriation issues, he recalled that on 23 November, Myanmar and Bangladesh had signed an agreement on arranging the voluntary, safe and dignified return of persons displaced from Rakhine State. The two parties would meet in Dhaka on 19 December to finalize the terms of reference and establish a joint working group. After the group’s formation, the repatriation process would begin within two months from the date of signing. Reception centres had been set up at Taung Pyo Lat Wel and Nga Khu Ya, as well as a drop‑in centre at Hla Phoe Kaung, in order to provide basic services such as health, water, education and transportation. He noted that Myanmar had requested the early repatriation of more than 500 Hindu refugees, but Bangladesh had indicated its intention to include them in the first batch of returnees along with Muslims.
Regarding the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, he said Myanmar had embraced them as a road map to solving the root causes of the problem and was committed to implementing them. The Committee for Implementation of the Recommendations on Rakhine State had been established on 12 September, and an Advisory Board to that Committee had been formed on 8 December. Furthermore, the Union Enterprise Mechanism had been launched in October. Its tasks encompassed repatriation, humanitarian aid, coordinating resettlement and rehabilitation as well as socioeconomic development and durable peace. For long‑term development, the Maungdaw special economic zone had been recently established to boost cross‑border trade with Bangladesh.
Noting the Security Council’s recent Presidential Statement on Myanmar, the approval by the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) of an almost identical draft text, as well as the Human Rights Council’s adoption of another draft resolution on the subject, he reiterated his country’s objection to such discriminatory and selective application of overlapping action. Nevertheless, Myanmar was working closely with Council Members and the Secretariat to establish a constructive partnership regarding Rakhine State, he said.
MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh) said his country was continuing to receive an average of 100 to 400 Rohingya people daily. Since 25 August, the influx had reached 646,000 in total and was continuing to rise, with many of the new refugees arriving following alleged coercion to accept national verification documents designating them as Bengalis. He also expressed concern about reports of arson in Rohingya localities in northern and central Rakhine State, and urged the United Nations and its partners to prevent a potential outbreak of violence targeting Rohingya confined to camps for internally displaced persons.
Concerning his Government’s agreement with Myanmar, he said that the arrangement was a critical first step toward ensuring the voluntary repatriation of forcibly displaced people that had entered Bangladesh following widespread violence. Expressing concern about certain provisions of the agreement, he cautioned that repatriation within a reasonable time frame must not be taken as license to prolong the process over an indefinite period. At the same time, he called on the Myanmar authorities to end divisive policies, including the State policy of treating the Rohingya as illegal immigrants. Moreover, the verification process conducted prior to the return of the Rohingya must factor in their dispossession and disenfranchisement, as they had fled their homes without any documentation in support of their residency in Rakhine State.
He went on to say that it was evident that the bilateral repatriation agreement was limited in its scope and did not address the root causes of the crisis. The decade‑long State policy of dehumanization and disenfranchisement of an entire community needed to be addressed within Myanmar, with the support of the international community. He called for accountability for the atrocities committed in Rakhine State and urged the Council to act as the custodian of the bilateral process, as well as the rights of the Rohingya people.