International desk – The United Nations Security Council will convene a meeting Thursday on Rohingya crisis to hear a brief by the UN Secretary General who has termed the latest wave of violence in Myanmar as ethnic cleansing.
Seven members of the council, including United States and Britain, requested the meeting in the wake of mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims to neighbouring Bangladesh after Myanmar military launched crackdown on suspected Rohingya insurgents blamed for attacking security posts in Rakhine state.
UN estimated more than 436,000 Rohingya crossed into Bangladesh to flee violence that erupted on August 25.
The refugees, most of which are women and children, have been living either in makeshift tents or out in the open in Bangladesh’s south-eastern Cox’s Bazar district in desperate need of food, shelter and medicine.
Bangladesh asked Myanmar to stop violence and take their nationals back to home.
In Thursday’s meeting Secretary General Antonio Guterres will make his public comments on the crisis, according to UN diplomats.
Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron termed the attacks on minority people in Myanmar as “genocide.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has denounced the plight of the Rohingya, accused Myanmar of waging a “Buddhist terror” against the Muslim minority. He also denounced the “genocide.”
Egypt, Kazakhstan, Senegal and Sweden, which are non-permanent members of the Security Council, also requested the meeting.
The council earlier called for “immediate steps” to end the violence, following a closed-door meeting as more than 1.1 million ethnic minorities in the Rakhine state have been subject to persecution for decades.
Military junta strip these minority group off their citizenship despite they have been living in Rakhine for generations, well before Myanmar was liberated in 1948.
In the wake of the latest wave of attacks, Guterres took the rare step of sending a letter to the council to express concern about the “humanitarian catastrophe” unfolding, raising fears that it could have “implications for peace and security” beyond Myanmar’s borders.
Rights groups have been asking the council to impose sanctions against Myanmar’s government. Britain has suspended its train programme with Myanmar army.
Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been sharing power with the country’s elite military, failed to quell outrage over the plight of the Rohingya as she appealed for patience when she addressed the nation last week.