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14 September, 2017 12:22:55 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 14 September, 2017 12:45:03 PM
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UNSC urges ‘prompt steps’ to end violence

UN chief asks Myanmar to halt attacks; Suu Kyi to skip UNGA
AFP
UNSC urges ‘prompt steps’ to end violence
UN

The UN Security Council yesterday expressed concern about excessive force used by Myanmar during its security operation in Rakhine state and called for "immediate steps" to end the violence, reports AFP.

The unanimous statement followed a council meeting held behind closed doors to respond to the violence that has driven nearly 380,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee across the border to Bangladesh.

The council condemned the violence and called for humanitarian aid workers to be able to reach those in need in Rakhine state.

Ethiopian Ambassador Tekeda Alemu, who holds the council presidency, told reporters after the meeting that council members "expressed concern about reports of excessive violence during the security operations and called for immediate steps to end the violence in Rakhine."

Earlier in the day, UN chief Antonio Guterres acknowledged that Rohingya Muslims were being ethnically cleansed in Myanmar as he called for a halt to a military campaign in Rakhine State.

Speaking ahead of a Security Council meeting to discuss the worsening humanitarian crisis there, Guterres described reports of security forces attacking civilians in

Rakhine as "disturbing" and "completely unacceptable."

"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," the secretary general said in a press conference.

Asked if he agreed the Rohingya population was being ethnically cleansed, he replied: "When one-third of the Rohingya population has got to flee the country, can you find a better word to describe it?"

Guterres called for authorities "to assure the delivery of vital humanitarian aid" in Rakhine state, with thousands of Rohingya still crossing the border every day.

The 1.1-million strong Rohingya have suffered years of discrimination in Myanmar, where they are denied citizenship even though many have longstanding roots in the country.

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.

Meanwhile, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi will not attend the United Nations General Assembly this week, her spokesman said yesterday, as the Nobel laureate faces a barrage of criticism over her failure to speak up for Rohingya Muslims fleeing Rakhine state in huge numbers.

The violence has incubated a humanitarian crisis on both sides of the border and piled intense global pressure on Suu Kyi to condemn the army campaign, which the UN has described as having all the hallmarks of “ethnic cleansing”.

Bangladesh is struggling to provide relief for exhausted and hungry refugees—some 60 percent of whom are children—while nearly 30,000 ethnic Rakhine Buddhists as well as Hindus have been displaced inside Myanmar.

Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s first civilian leader in decades, has no control over the powerful military, which ran the country for 50 years before allowing free elections in 2015.

Outside of her country Suu Kyi’s reputation as a defender of the oppressed is in ruins over the Rohingya crisis.

Rights groups have pilloried the former democracy activist for failing to speak out against the army campaign, which has left hundreds dead.

MK/MK

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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