UN chief urges Myanmar authorities to stop violence against Rohingya
KONFRONTASI - The United Nations chief has called on Myanmar's authorities to halt the ongoing campaign against the persecuted Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.
Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday described reports of Myanmar's security forces attacking civilians as "completely unacceptable."
"I call on the Myanmar authorities to suspend military activities and violence and uphold the rule of law," he said in a press conference.
The UN chief was asked if he agreed that the Rohingya population was facing ethnic cleansing. "When one third of the Rohingya population has got to flee the country, can you find a better word to describe it?" he replied.
Security Council condemns violence against Rohingya
The UN Security Council on Wednesday expressed concern in a statement about "excessive force" used by Myanmar's forces in Rakhine.
The council said "immediate steps" need to be taken to end the violence.
The statement followed a council meeting held behind closed doors regarding the recent developments in Myanmar.
Myanmar’s forces have been attacking Rohingya Muslims and torching their villages in Rakhine since October 2016. The attacks have seen a sharp rise since August 25, following a number of armed attacks on police and military posts in the troubled western state. There have been numerous eyewitness accounts of summary executions, rapes, and arson attacks by the military since the crackdown against the minority group began.
The latest eruption of violence in Rakhine has killed more than 1,000 people, according to the UN.
The UN estimates that at least 370,000 Rohingya have fled to neighboring Bangladesh since late August. Many of those who have managed to take refuge in the country say Myanmar's soldiers and Buddhist mobs have been attacking civilians and burning down their homes.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recently warned that more than 200,000 Rohingya children need urgent support in Bangladesh.
In this photograph taken on September 7, 2017, unidentified men carry knives and slingshots as they walk past a burning house in Gawdu Tharya village near Maungdaw in Rakhine state, Myanmar. (Photo by AFP)
On Tuesday, the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called on Myanmar's government to allow UN investigators into Rakhine.
Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi has so far ignored calls from the international community to stop the violence. The Nobel Peace Prize winner has done almost nothing to end the violence in Rakhine. She recently claimed that the widespread reports of killings and rape against the Rohingya were fake news.
Rohingya Muslim refugees disembark from a boat on the Bangladeshi side of the Naf river in Teknaf, September 12, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
An international campaign has been launched to call on the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to take back its 1991 prize to Suu Kyi.[ptv]