NEW YORK – The UN Security Council on Monday (Nov 6) called on Myanmar to rein in its military campaign in Rakhine state and allow hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya driven from their homes to return.
In a unanimous statement backed by China, the council strongly condemned the violence that has forced more than 600,000 Rohingya to flee across the border to Bangladesh.
The council expressed “grave concern” over human rights violations, “including by the Myanmar security forces” against the Rohingya such as killing, sexual violence and burning of homes and property.
It called on the government “to ensure no further excessive use of military force in Rakhine state, to restore civilian administration and apply the rule of law”. The statement included most of the demands contained in a draft resolution presented last month by Britain and France, but that measure ran into strong opposition from China, a supporter of Myanmar’s former ruling junta.
China had indicated it was willing to resort to its veto power to block a resolution, but Beijing finally agreed to a statement during negotiations, diplomats said.
Since late August, more than 600,000 Rohingya have been driven from their homes by an army campaign that the United Nations has described as ethnic cleansing.
Myanmar authorities say the military operation is aimed at rooting out Rohingya militants who staged attacks on police posts.
The Rohingya have faced decades of discrimination in Buddhist-majority Myanmar and have been denied citizenship since 1982, which has effectively rendered them stateless.
Council members called for full access for humanitarian aid workers to Rakhine and said the government must address the root causes of the crisis by allowing “equal access to full citizenship.” The statement did not, however, threaten sanctions.
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