Demurring On Rohingya Citizenship, The United Nations Security Council Is Unlikely To Fully Resolve Humanitarian Crisis

CNN — After drawn-out discussions over a potential fact-finding mission in Myanmar and irreconcilable differences, the Security Council has tried to shift tactics to find a way to engage the Burmese government directly and reach consensus. Citizenship for the Rohingya has been a major point of disagreement, but now the divisions between Myanmar and the Security Council, and within the SC itself, over the issue of Rohingya nationality citizenship have been put on hold in favor of economic incentives for cooperation.

However, with a more friendly approach, the Security Council may be neglecting to focus on solutions to fully resolve the issue.

Myanmar’s position that the Rohingya are not citizens is the justification for their forced removal, but some Members, particularly China, have refused to include the issue in a potential resolution on the issue. Saudi Arabia, whose delegates expressed to CNN their hope that the Rohingya receive Burmese citizenship, has noted with dismay that that the UN will not able to push Myanmar to grant them citizenship: “at the end of the day, it’s up to them [the Rohingya]”.

The Security Council is hopeful to address many of the “acute” facets of the crisis, including the widespread sexual violence and religious discrimination that the Rohingya face, though not all members see this as a long-term solution.

The United Kingdom has objected to this approach, noting the benefit of resolving the immediate life-or-death crisis is of utmost importance, they note that the lack of citizenship has made the Rohingya vulnerable to the crisis in the first place.

Additionally, they say, “at its core, it’s the government of Myanmar’s responsibility to ensure they have citizenship,” though the Security Council also has a responsibility to protect human rights, including the right to citizenship.

However, if the Security Council is unable to restore the Rohingyas’ citizenship, they will not be able to guarantee a long-term solution to the situation.