Sweden and Britain have called for an urgent meeting over the deteriorating situation in Myanmar which has forced more than 300,000 Rohingyas to flee.
Sweden, UK Call For Urgent UN Security Council Meeting
Sweden and Britain on Monday requested a closed-door United Nations Security Council meeting on the deteriorating situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, home to the majority-Buddhist nation’s Rohingya Muslims, Reuters reported.
According to diplomats, the meeting would likely be held on Wednesday.
“I think it will be a private meeting but with a public outcome of some form,” British U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told reporters on Monday.
“It’s a sign of the significant worry that Security Council members have that the situation is continuing to deteriorate for many Rohingya who are seeking to flee Rakhine state in Burma and move into Bangladesh,” Rycroft said.
Reuters reported that the United Nations’ top human rights official slammed Myanmar earlier on Monday for conducting a “cruel military operation” against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state, branding it “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
Latest estimates indicate that about 313,000 refugees have fled Myanmar across the border into Bangladesh in just over two weeks.
According to NPR, hardship awaits them in Bangladesh, as thousands are cramped into makeshift quarters built of bamboo and plastic sheeting, filled with humans and human misery. But they say what they left behind was worse.
On Monday, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commisioner for Human Rights, said in a statement: "Because Myanmar has refused access to human rights investigators the current situation cannot yet be fully assessed … but the situation seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing."
Over 300,000 Rohingyas have fled since a militant group associated with the Rohingya attacked a series of military outposts on Auguest 25. The military retaliated with a violent operation that is "clearly disproportionate and without regard for basic principles of international law," Hussein said.
"I am further appalled by reports that the Myanmar authorities have now begun to lay landmines along the border with Bangladesh" targeting Rohingya who might return, Hussein said.
On Saturday, Amnesty International confirmed these reports and said the mines have killed at least one man in the past week and seriously injured another three civilians, two of whom were children and the third a woman.
Rashida, a Rohingya refugee who crossed into Bangladesh on a boat about a week ago, NPR reported her as saying she owned some paddy fields in Rakhine state with her husband and three children.
"We have left all that behind now. Our house and fields have been burned so we cannot earn our living there anymore," she said.
"When the military started shooting in our village, we quickly took my children into the jungle and hid them; they were scared from the dangers in the wild. But, when I went back to check on the house, I saw right in front of my eyes, that many people had been killed."
Her report mirrors many that have come out of the Bangladeshi camps in recent days, telling of brutal attacks on villages by security forces working in tandem with armed Buddhist locals, reported NPR.
But the government denies these claims, calling them the propaganda of stateless dissidents. The Muslim villages have been torched by Muslim militants, the Myanmar military says.