The United Nations Security Council is set to meet later today to discuss Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis, in which lakhs of Rohingya muslims have fled the country to escape violence and taken refuge in neighbouring countries, especially Bangladesh.
So far 370,000 Rohingya refugees have made it into Bangladesh since August 25, when the violence erupted in Rakhine state in Myanmar. Militants from the Muslim minority had attacked police border posts triggering a major military crackdown in the state. Killings and arson attacks on the community at the hands of soldiers were also reported.
Meanwhile Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has decided not to attend the United Nations General Assembly later this month. The crisis has snowballed and Myanmar has come under severe global scrutiny because of it.
“The state counsellor won’t attend the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly,” said government spokesman Zaw Htay.
The spokesman did not explain the decision but said the country’s Vice President Henry Van Thio would attend the summit.
Interestingly, Suu Kyi’s decision to skip the UNGA meet comes a day after UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, accused Myanmar of waging a “systematic attack” on Rohingya civilians and warned that “ethnic cleansing” seemed to be under way.
Suu Kyi, on her part, has vowed to find a solution to ethnic and religious hatreds in Rakhine “that will lead to peace, stability and development for all communities within the state.”
She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her defiant democracy activism under Myanmar’s former junta.
She had made her debut before the UN assembly last September, after becoming former junta-run Myanmar’s first civilian leader in decades, winning warm applause for her speech.
International human rights groups that once campaigned for her release from house arrest, are now slamming her for her silence on the violence on the Rohingya community.
Denied citizenship by Myanmar, the stateless Rohingyas are not favoured in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
(With inputs from agencies)