United Nations launches $950 mil. appeal for Rohingya refugees

UN official says Rohingya crisis has 'hallmarks of genocide'

Grandi again acknowledged that it "may take a very long time" before any Rohingya can return to their home in Myanmar's Rakhine state, in the absence of any evidence that they will be safe if they go back.

More than 100 angry protesters gathered in Hyde Park in Sydney on Saturday, demonstrating against Suu Kyi's participation at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) special meeting.

The one-time human rights icon Suu Kyi, Cambodia's strongman leader Hun Sen and Vietnam's Nguyen Xuan Phuc are among those attending the talks. "Ms Suu Kyi has denied these events have occurred".

It is unclear whether the 8,000 who have said they will voluntarily return are Rohingya who fled the most recent campaign of ethnic cleansing in 2017, or those who came to Bangladesh during earlier rounds of violence in 2012 and 2016.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak raised fears that so many desperate and displaced people could fall prey to extremist groups like Islamic State.

U Myint Thu, Myanmar's permanent secretary for foreign affairs, said that of the list of thousands of returnees submitted by the Bangladesh government, they had deemed only 374 eligible for repatriation.

"In addition, the problem should not be looked at through the humanitarian prism only because it has the potential of developing into a serious security threat to the region".

"Rakhine, with thousands of despairing and dejected people who see no hope in their future, can be a fertile ground for radicalisation and recruitment by Daesh affiliated groups", he said.

Daesh is an alternative name given to Islamic State.

United Nations agencies and NGO partners released the 2018 Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis, a US$951 million appeal to meet the urgent needs of almost 1 million Rohingyas and more than 330,000 vulnerable Bangladeshis in the communities hosting them.

Najib said Malaysia was ready to render assistance in finding a just and durable solution, "just as Malaysia is cooperating with its neighbours in the peace processes in the Southern Philippines and in Southern Thailand". The UN has said the persecution "bears all the hallmarks of genocide".

The move towards repatriation will barely make a dent in the 700,000 Muslim Rohingya refugees now living in camps in Bangladesh after fleeing a violent and targeted campaign by the Burmese military in Rakhine state, which began in August 2017 and destroyed their homes and left thousands dead.

The prosecution application relies on the principle of universal jurisdiction, reserved for the most serious criminal offences under worldwide law, such as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

Australian courts are assessing the application to prosecute Suu Kyi for crimes against humanity, according to The Guardian, and a response is expected next week.

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