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Suu Kyi Meets UN Chief, Tillerson on Rohingya Crisis

Rohingya refugees shelter from the rain in a camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, September 17.Rohingya refugees shelter from the rain in a camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, September 17.

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi faced rising global pressure Tuesday to solve the crisis for her nation’s displaced Rohingya Muslim minority, meeting the UN chief and America’s top diplomat in the Philippines.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told the Nobel laureate that hundreds of thousands of displaced Muslims who had fled to Bangladesh should be allowed to return to their homes in Myanmar, AFP reported.

“I cannot hide my deep concern with the dramatic movement of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Myanmar to Bangladesh,” Guterres told Suu Kyi.

“The secretary general highlighted that strengthened efforts to ensure humanitarian access, safe, dignified, voluntary and sustained returns, as well as true reconciliation between communities, would be essential,” a UN statement said, summarizing comments to Suu Kyi.

Guterres’ comments came hours before Suu Kyi sat down with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Manila.

Washington has been cautious in its statements on the situation in Rakhine, and has avoided outright criticism of Suu Kyi.

At a photo opportunity at the top of her meeting with Tillerson, Suu Kyi ignored a journalist who asked if the Rohingya were citizens of Myanmar.

At a later appearance after the meeting, Tillerson —who is headed to Myanmar on Wednesday— was asked by reporters if he “had a message for Burmese leaders”.

He apparently ignored the question, replying only: “Thank you”, according to a pool report of the encounter.

  Crimes Against Humanity

Meanwhile, Amnesty International accused Myanmar of sweeping “serious violations” against the Rohingya under the carpet after Myanmar Army claimed its soldiers have not shot villagers, raped women or tortured prisoners.

“There is overwhelming evidence that the military has murdered and raped Rohingya and burned their villages to the ground,” Amnesty said in a statement released on Monday evening. “After recording countless stories of horror and using satellite analysis to track the growing devastation we can only reach one conclusion: these attacks amount to crimes against humanity.”

The human rights group called for a UN fact-finding mission and requested other independent investigators be given full access to Rakhine State.

 

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