UN urges Myan­mar to end Ro­hingya vi­o­lence

The Miracle - - Ational & Int - Source: Al Jazeera Source: Al-Jazeera

Around 370,000 of Myan­mar’s mi­nor­ity Ro­hingya pop­u­la­tion have fled the coun­try’s western state of Rakhine into neighbouring Bangladesh in re­cent weeks, ac­cord­ing to the UN. The vi­o­lence be­gan on Au­gust 25, after Ro­hingya fight­ers at­tacked po­lice posts, prompt­ing a mil­i­tary crack­down. UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res and the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil has called on the Myan­mar gov­ern­ment to end its mil­i­tary cam­paign against the Ro­hingya Mus­lims. The 15-mem­ber Se­cu­rity Coun­cil met be­hind closed doors on Wed­nes­day, at the re­quest of Swe­den and Bri­ti­ain, to dis­cuss the cri­sis for the sec­ond time since it be­gan and agreed to pub­licly con­demn the sit­u­a­tion. Around 370,000 of Myan­mar’s mi­nor­ity Ro­hingya pop­u­la­tion have fled the coun­try’s western state of Rakhine into neighbouring Bangladesh in re­cent weeks, ac­cord­ing to the UN. The vi­o­lence be­gan on Au­gust 25, after Ro­hingya fight­ers at­tacked po­lice posts, prompt­ing a mil­i­tary crack­down. “I call on the Myan­mar author­i­ties to sus­pend mil­i­tary ac­tion, end the vi­o­lence, up­hold the rule of law and recog­nise the right of re­turn of all those who have had to leave the coun­try,” the UN chief said at the press con­fer­ence in New York. Guter­res’ com­ments mir­rored those of UN hu­man rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hus­sein, who de­nounced the sit­u­a­tion in Myan­mar as “a text­book ex­am­ple of eth­nic cleans­ing” on Mon­day. Al Jazeera’s Rosi­land Jor­dan, re­port­ing from the UN head­quar­ters, said it re­mains to be seen if the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil can do any­thing from a prac­ti­cal stand­point fol­low­ing Wed­nes­day’s meet­ing. “There is a lot of con­cern here at the UN about the on­go­ing cri­sis,” she said. “The ques­tion is who can be held ac­count­able and can the sit­u­a­tion be re­solved quickly or is there go­ing to be an­other looming hu­man­i­tar­ian catas­tro­phe.” The coun­cil “ex­pressed con­cern about re­ports of ex­ces­sive vi­o­lence dur­ing the se­cu­rity op­er­a­tions and called for im­me­di­ate steps to end the vi­o­lence in Rakhine, de-es­ca­late the sit­u­a­tion, re-es­tab­lish law and or­der, en­sure the pro­tec­tion of civil­ians ... and re­solve the refugee prob­lem.” Bri­tish UN Am­bas­sador Matthew Ry­croft said it was the first state­ment from the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil on Myan­mar in nine years. This comes as Myan­mar’s na­tional leader Aung San Suu Kyi can­celled her trip to next week’s UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly to deal with the cri­sis, her of­fice said on Wed­nes­day. She is due to give her first speech on the sit­u­a­tion in a tele­vised ad­dress next week. Suu Kyi has been widely con­demned for a lack of moral lead­er­ship and com­pas­sion in the face of the cri­sis, dent­ing the No­bel peace lau­re­ate’s rep­u­ta­tion. The sec­re­tary-gen­eral also said he has spo­ken to Suu Kyi sev­eral times. Pres­sure has been mount­ing on Myan­mar to end the re­cent surge in vi­o­lence, with the United States call­ing for pro­tec­tion of civil­ians and Bangladesh urg­ing safe zones to en­able refugees to go home. Asked if the sit­u­a­tion could be de­scribed as eth­nic cleans­ing, Guter­res replied: “Well I would an­swer your ques­tion with an­other ques­tion: When one-third of the Ro­hingya pop­u­la­tion had to flee the coun­try, could you find a bet­ter word to de­scribe it?” Myan­mar’s gov­ern­ment said on Wed­nes­day that 176 Ro­hingya vil­lages were com­pletely empty, as res­i­dents fled the re­cent up­surge in vi­o­lence. “This is a dra­matic tragedy,” Guter­res said. “Peo­ple are dy­ing and suf­fer­ing at hor­ri­ble num­bers and we need to stop it. That is my main con­cern. The gov­ern­ment says about 400 peo­ple have been killed in the lat­est fight­ing in the western state. Guter­res called on the author­i­ties to al­low the UN and NGOs into Rakhine State to pro­vide hu­man­i­tar­ian aid. The UN de­scribes the Ro­hingya as the world’s most per­se­cuted peo­ple. The Ro­hingya have suf­fered years of dis­crim­i­na­tion and have been de­nied cit­i­zen­ship in Myan­mar since 1982. But Guter­res said that the Myan­mar gov­ern­ment should ei­ther grant the Ro­hingya na­tion­al­ity or le­gal sta­tus that would al­low them to live a nor­mal life.

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