Araweelo News Network

UN Security Council

New York(ANN)-The UN Security Council is set to hold a meeting to discuss the deteriorating situation of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, a day after the world body’s rights chief voiced alarm over apparent “ethnic cleansing” against the minority group.

The 15-nation member announced it would hold an emergency meeting at the request of Sweden and Britain on Wednesday, amid an international outcry against the Myanmar government’s bloody crackdown against the country’s minority Muslim community.

“It’s a sign of the significant worry that Security Council members have about the situation that is continuing to deteriorate for the many Rohingyas who are seeking to flee Rakhine state,” British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told reporters.
The announcement came hours after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein denounced Myanmar’s brutal operation in western Rakhine State against the Rohingya, warning it amounted to “ethnic cleansing.”

Hundreds of Thousands of Rohingya Muslims, who are denied citizenship by the state and have suffered years of persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, have been forced to flee the country in the past fortnight in what the country has described as a “cleansing operation.”

The country’s disgraced leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has defended the military’s operations as part of their “legitimate duty to restore stability” in western Rakhine State after a number of armed attacks on police and army posts there on August 25.

Thousands of activists and fellow Nobel laureates have called on the Nobel Prize organization to revoke her title.

Critics have blamed her for complicity in the atrocities against the Rohingya, who are looked down on by the majority Buddhists in the country as illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

The Council met behind closed doors in late August to discuss the violence, but there was no formal statement.

The UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar has said the latest wave of violence may have left more than 1,000 dead, most of them Rohingya Muslims.

The exodus, topping 313,000 refugees, has sparked a humanitarian crisis in neighboring Bangladesh, where refugee camps are already overcrowded and food and other aid is in short supply.

Most refugees have walked for days in harrowing journeys across rivers and through jungle, arriving sick, exhausted and in desperate need of shelter, food and water.

Dhaka, which initially tried to block the Rohingya from entering, said Monday that it would start registering all new arrivals and place them in a new refugee camp until their status is determined.

Amnesty International and Bangladeshi officials say the Myanmar military has planted landmines to harm the fleeing Rohingya refugees, many of whom arrive in Bangladesh with serious injuries.

‘Scale of atrocities beyond words’

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is to pay a visit on Tuesday to struggling refugee camps housing hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees, a crisis which, she said has reached a level beyond description.

Speaking to lawmakers on Monday night, she slammed Myanmar’s “atrocities” against its Muslim minorities, saying, “I have no words to condemn Myanmar.”

“They are sending Rohingya to Bangladesh afresh,” she said. “Women are being raped and tortured, children are being killed, and houses are being set on fire” in Rakhine.
In a statement on Monday, the US government said the violent displacement of Rohingya Muslims indicates the government’s military is not protecting civilians.

The White House called on Myanmar’s forces to respect the rule of law, stop the violence, and end the displacement of civilians from all communities.”

More protest rallies

Earlier on Monday, Bangladeshis gathered at Myanmar’s embassy in Dhaka to protest the military operation against the minority Rohingya community.

The protest was staged by the popular Ganojagoron Mancha group which has taken part in Bangladeshi politics since 2013.

A similar demonstration was held by Arabs outside the embassy of Myanmar in Tel Aviv to show solidarity with the Rohingya and to protest the treatment of the Muslims by Myanmar’s Buddhist authorities.

Protest leader Ibrahim Sarsur said the crowd gathered to condemn the “atrocities” committed by the Myanmar government.

“It’s the responsibility of the international community to move, to act, immediately to stop the bloodshed,” said Sarsur, who is also a lawmaker from the Joint (Arab) List in the Israeli Knesset (parliament.)

He described the brutal crackdown as “a crime against humanity.”