Dhaka – The United Nations has called upon Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to visit northern Rakhine state as Rohingya Muslims were persecuted brutally for the last couple of months, said officials.
The South-East Asian country’s security forces have been carrying out clampdown on the Muslim Rohingya minority at the area for the last couple months and were also accused of genocide and extreme violence.
The Nobel peace prize winner has faced growing international criticism for not stopping the military’s campaign, which has pushed more than 20,000 Rohingya over the border to neighbouring Bangladesh, bringing tales of mass rape, murder and arson.
The crackdown was launched in response to deadly attack on police posts in early October.
Malaysia has accused the army of “genocide” — charges Myanmar officials have vehemently denied.
Suu Kyi has described the situation as “under control” and asked the international community to stop stoking the “fires of resentment”.
In a statement released in New York on Thursday, UN special adviser on Myanmar Vijay Nambiar appealed directly to the peace icon to intervene.
“The adoption of a generally defensive rather than proactive approach to providing security to the local population, have caused frustration locally and disappointment internationally,” he said.
“I also appeal to Daw Suu to visit Maungdaw and Buthidaung and reassure the civilian population there that they will be protected,” he added, referring to the locked down area in Rakhine.
The bloodshed presents the biggest challenge to Suu Kyi since her party won Myanmar’s first democratic elections in a generation last year. It has galvanised Muslim nations around the region, with protesters decrying the latest crackdown as the culmination of years discrimination and abuse suffered by the stateless Rohingya.
On Sunday Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak taunted Suu Kyi, who the former junta kept under house arrest for almost 20 years, before a crowd of some 5,000 protesters in Kuala Lumpur.
“What’s the use of Aung San Suu Kyi having a Nobel prize?” he asked the protesters. “The world cannot sit and watch genocide taking place.”
Activists say Buddhist-majority Myanmar’s stateless Muslim Rohingya minority are among the most persecuted in the world.
More than 120,000 have been trapped in squalid displacement camps since the last major outbreak of violence erupted in Rakhine in 2012.
More than 100 Rohingya Muslims were reportedly killed in the Myanmar’s counter-insurgency sweeps.
Bangladesh is burdened with nearly 29,000 Rohingya who have been documented as refugees, have been living in two squalid camps in Cox’s Bazar since the 1990s after they were driven out of Myanmar.
The number of undocumented Rohingya living in Bangladesh is estimated to be between 200,000 and 500,000. And the number of Rohingya Muslims are increasing everyday in Bangladesh.