Making a strong pitch for holding those involved in violence against Rohingyas accountable, UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres has said India can help tackle the crisis by backing Bangladesh in humanitarian assistance and using its influence in Myanmar to bring about reconciliation.
He also said that to keep Rohingyas in such a "discriminatory situation" is "an invitation for terrorist groups" to exploit the situation.
"I have never seen a community so discriminated in the world as Rohingyas," Guterres, who arrived here on Monday on his maiden visit to India, said in response to a question on the issue after delivering a lecture on 'Global Challenges, Global Solutions' in New Delhi on Tuesday night.
“There should be accountability to those crimes," he said on the treatment meted out to Rohingyas.
During a question-answer session after his lecture, the UN secretary general said Rohingyas do not have access to health and education and there was a deep-rooted feeling of racism against them within the Myanmarese society.
As an example of this racism, Guterres recalled his visit to Myanmar as the High Commissioner for Refugees, and said that at that time the president of Myanmar had asked him to resettle Rohingyas in some other countries.
"To make them refugees is not my role. My role is to solve the problem of refugees. This shows how deeply-rooted is the negative perception of the Rohingyas. This was intensified by some hate speech by some monks on social media. There are over one million people in Bangladesh. They were people burnt, raped,” he said.
Gueterres said "even if there was a provocation, the reaction of the armed forces was brutal." He emphasised on political reconciliation so that the Rohingyas could be repatriated to their country.
"What can India do? Support Bangladesh in helping these people because there is a huge humanitarian problem. Second, to put pressure on Myanmar, the military in Myanmar for reconciliation and create conditions for these people to go back. These people will not go back in present circumstances," he said.
During her visit to Myanmar in May this year, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had offered to help in safe, speedy and sustainable return of Rohingyas, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
India has also been helping Bangladesh in providing humanitarian assistance to Rohingyas.
SUU KYI'S CITIZENSHIP
Canada's Parliament formally stripped Aung San Suu Kyi of her honorary Canadian citizenship on Tuesday for complicity in the atrocities committed against Myanmar's Rohingya people.
The lower house had already approved a motion to the same effect last week.
The House of Commons granted the privilege to Suu Kyi in 2007, but her international reputation has since been tarnished by her refusal to call on the Myanmar army to put an end to the atrocities committed against the Rohingya.
Canadian lawmakers described the violence against them as a "genocide" in a resolution passed in September.
The ethnic group are treated as foreigners in Myanmar, a country that is more than 90 percent Buddhist.
Canada has granted honorary citizenship only to five other personalities, including Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Malala Yousafzai.
ROHINGYAS IN INDIA
Indian police bused seven Rohingya Muslims to the border yesterday to be deported to neighbouring Myanmar for illegal entry, officials and activists said, the first such move against the community.
An estimated 40,000 Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority, live in India after having fled persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar over the years. The seven men being sent back had been held in prison since 2012 for illegal entry into the country, reports AFP.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government has described illegal Rohingya immigrants as posing a national security threat, and asked state governments last year to identify and deport them.
Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, additional director general of police in the northeastern state of Assam, said that the seven men would be handed over to Myanmar authorities at the border today.
"This is a routine procedure, we deport all illegal foreigners," Mahanta said.
But a UN human rights official said the forcible return of the Rohingya violates international law.
“The Indian Government has an international legal obligation to fully acknowledge the institutionalised discrimination, persecution, hate and gross human rights violations these people have faced in their country of origin and provide them the necessary protection," UN Special Rapporteur on racism, Tendayi Achiume, said in a statement.
More than 700,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh after an army crackdown in Myanmar a year ago.