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United Nations official says not safe yet for Rohingya return to Myanmar

United Nations official says not safe yet for Rohingya return to Myanmar

If there's one thing President Duterte can advise Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, it is for her to ignore all criticisms about human rights and focus on doing her job.

Duterte said he had a chance to talk to Suu Kyi, Myanmar's state counselor, and told the latter not to mind her critics.

"The relationship with the West, with human rights groups, with the United Nations, with the worldwide media is awful", he told news agencies on phone from New Mexico on Friday.

Two years ago, Myanmar celebrated a moment many thought would never come as democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi took her seat at the head of the.

"I still admire and like her, but I am sure that's not the case on her part", he said.

Richardson resigned from the Myanmar government's advisory board on Wednesday, during the panel's first visit to troubled Rakhine State, saying it was conducting a "whitewash".

The resignation of Bill Richardson from the Advisory Board for the Committee for the Implementation of the Recommendations on Rakhine State will not tarnish the panel's credibility, board member Roelof Petrus Meyer said on Thursday.

Suu Kyi's government said on Friday it did not want discuss the details of the exchange between Suu Kyi and Richardson any further.

Since late August 2017, almost 690,000 Rohingya had fled to Bangladesh after a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar's Rakhine State. He said he had informed the U.S. Ambassador in Yangon and the State Department of his intention to resign but did not seek their guidance or permission to do so.

In the meantime, a Myanmar government spokesman also hit back on Thursday, accusing Richardson of over-stepping the mark in his stinging resignation letter.

Richardson had previously said he got into a furious argument with Suu Kyi at a Monday night dinner when he brought up the case of two Reuters reporters, who were arrested on December 12 on suspicion of violating Myanmar's Official Secrets Act. "I just felt that my advice and counsel would not be heeded". There is a "power bubble that has been created around her", filled with people who "tell her how great things are", he said.

Richardson revealed that when he brought up the issue of two Reuters reporters - Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo - who are on trial, accused of breaching the country's Official Secrets Act while covering the crisis in Rakhine state, during a meeting with Suu Kyi, the conversation descended into an argument.

United Nations officials, former United States president Barack Obama, European lawmakers, former Colombian president Cesar Gaviria, and a slew of Philippine and global human rights groups have criticized him for his bloody drug war. Myanmar rejects that label and has denied almost all the allegations. Inside Myanmar the Rohingya are widely regarded as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh even though many have lived there for generations. The Myanmar government has announced that temporary camps are ready to accept verified returnees, though none had arrived as of January 26.


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