Dhaka – The UN Security Council has called on Myanmar to restrain its military campaign in Rakhine state and allow return of hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya driven out of their homes.
The council in a unanimous statement backed by China on Monday 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.
That measure ran into strong opposition from China, a supporter of Myanmar’s former ruling junta.
An estimated 609,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh after Burmese army launched offensive against suspected Muslim insurgents blamed for attacks on security posts in late August. Civilians crossed the border said they left their homes to save lives in the face of atrocities carried out by army and their Buddhist cohorts.
The United Nations described the atrocities as textbook case of ethnic cleansing.
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.”