US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has expressed concern over the “humanitarian crisis” in Myanmar and urged the country’s army chief to help the government to bring an end to the violence in Rakhine state.
Tillerson made a telephone call to Myanmar’s Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and sought his support in ending the violence and allowing the safe return home of those displaced during the violence. The unrest has forced over 600,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh.
Tillerson expressed “concern about the continuing humanitarian crisis and reported atrocities in Rakhine,” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said.
“At the same time, he urged the military to facilitate humanitarian aid for displaced people in affected areas, allow media access, and cooperate with the United Nations to ensure a thorough, independent investigation into all allegations of human rights abuses and violations and to ensure accountability,” Nauert added.
Militant attacks on Myanmar security forces sparked a major crackdown by the army on Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine.
According to the UN estimates, more than 600,000 members of the minority Muslim group have fled across the border into Bangladesh, triggering a grave humanitarian crisis in the country.
Meanwhile, at the UN headquarters in New York, the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar’s human rights Yanghee Lee said that the Security Council should issue a strongly worded resolution on the Myanmar crisis.
“The crisis in Rakhine State has not only been decades in the making but has for some time gone beyond Myanmar’s borders. For a very long time now this issue has not been simply a domestic affair,” Lee told the General Assembly.
(With inputs from agencies)