Dhaka – The United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has called Myanmar for halting military operations in troubled Rakhine state that forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims to cross into Bangladesh fleeing violence at their homes.
“A vicious cycle of persecution, discrimination, radicalization and violent repression has led more than 400,000 desperate people to flee, putting regional stability at risk,” the UN chief said as the General Assembly began at its headquarters in New York.
Responding to the speech by Burmese de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who had promised to implement recommendations by a commission to address the Rohingya crisis, Guterres asked the South-East Asian nation to end military operations in Rakhine.
Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan headed the commission.
“Let me emphasize again: the authorities in Myanmar must end the military operations,” he said asking the authorities to allow unhindered humanitarian access and recognize the right of refugees to return in safety and dignity.
The authorities must also address the grievances of the Rohingya, whose status has been left unresolved for far too long, he said.
“We are all shocked by the dramatic escalation of sectarian tensions in Myanmar’s Rakhine State,” said the UN head asking immediate implementation of the Annan commission recommendations.
An estimated 421,000 Rohingya Muslims entered Bangladesh to escape unrest after Myanmar army launched clampdown on suspected Rohingya insurgents for their alleged attack on security posts in Rakhine on August 25.
Rakhine is home to nearly 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims, who are being treated as stateless as Myanmar junta revoked their citizenship claiming these people migrated from Bengal. The minority group has been living in Rakhine (formerly known as Arakan) for generation.
The streams of Rohingya civilian have still been pouring into Bangladesh as the army and Buddhist mob carried out attacks on their homes and killing the Muslims.
The UN Secretary General earlier termed the army operation as systematic ethnic cleansing.