World News U.N. chief, Se­cu­rity Coun­cil call on Myan­mar to end vi­o­lence

Stabroek News - - EDITORIAL -

UNITED NA­TIONS, (Reuters) U.N. Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Antonio Guter­res and the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil yes­ter­day urged Myan­mar au­thor­i­ties to end vi­o­lence against the ma­jor­ity-Bud­dhist coun­try’s Ro­hingya Mus­lims that has forced some 400,000 peo­ple to flee to Bangladesh.

Guter­res said the sit­u­a­tion in Myan­mar’s western state of Rakhine was best de­scribed as eth­nic cleans­ing.

“When one-third of the Ro­hingya pop­u­la­tion had to flee the coun­try, could you find a bet­ter word to de­scribe it?” he told a news con­fer­ence.

“I call on the Myan­mar au­thor­i­ties to sus­pend mil­i­tary ac­tion, end the vi­o­lence, up­hold the rule of law, and rec­og­nize the right of re­turn of all those who had to leave the coun­try,” said Guter­res, adding that he had spo­ken sev­eral times with Myan­mar’s na­tional leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

The ex­o­dus of refugees, sparked by the se­cu­rity forces’ fierce re­sponse to a series of Ro­hingya mil­i­tant at­tacks on Aug. 25, is the most press­ing prob­lem Suu Kyi has faced since be­com­ing leader last year.

The govern­ment says it is tar­get­ing “ter­ror­ists,” while refugees say the of­fen­sive aims to push Ro­hingya out of Myan­mar.

The 15-mem­ber Se­cu­rity Coun­cil met be­hind closed doors on Wed­nes­day, at the re­quest of Swe­den and Bri­tain, to dis­cuss the cri­sis for the sec­ond time since it be­gan and agreed to pub­licly con­demn the sit­u­a­tion.

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 U.N. Am­bas­sador Matthew Ry­croft said it was the first state­ment from the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil on Myan­mar in nine years. Such state­ments have to be agreed by con­sen­sus and Rus­sia and China have tra­di­tion­ally pro­tected Myan­mar from any ac­tion.

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