International desk – China and Russia have sided with Myanmar, a quasi-military state blamed for cleansing minority Rohingya Muslims, blocking a UN Security Council to issue a statement to bring to an end to violence in the South East Asian nation.
The 15-member UN body held an open meeting in New York on Myanmar from where more than half a million people fled violence to neighbouring Bangladesh for safety.
The Burmese army launched crackdown against suspected militants a month ago forcing civilians in its restive Rakhine state to flee homes. The UN termed the army campaign as textbook of ethnic cleansing.
The UN human rights office last month accused the military of mass killings and rapes of Rohingya Muslims and burning their villages since October in a campaign that “very likely” amounts to crimes against humanity.
Britain requested the Security Council meeting aiming at bringing to an end to the latest spate of violence that began on August 25 in Myanmar.
Political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman briefed the council behind closed doors.
“We did put forward … some proposed press elements but there was not consensus in the room,” British U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, president of the council for March, told reporters after the briefing.
Such statements have to be agreed by consensus. But it could not be possible because Russia and China, two permanent members of the UNSC, blocked the statement.
Some 518,000 people have fled Rakhine state to Bangladesh since Myanmar’s military began a security operation last month. Prior to this campaign, violence in last October forced nearly 85,000 Rohingya Muslims to take shelter in squalid camps in Bangladesh.
The European Union called on Thursday for the United Nations to send an international fact-finding mission urgently to Myanmar to investigate allegations of torture, rapes and executions by the military against the Rohingya Muslim.