UN Security Council meets to confront Myanmar Rohingya crisis

World Today

More than half a million Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since the violence erupted a month ago, in what the U.N. Secretary General is calling the fastest developing refugee emergency.

The deepening crisis has prompted the Security Council to convene its first public meeting on Myanmar in eight years.

CGTN’s Liling Tan has more.

The decision to take the Myanmar matter into an open Security Council meeting indicates that the Rohingya crisis is deepening in scope and scale. And that more than a humanitarian crisis, there are now concerns about regional peace and security.

U.N. officials and diplomats are calling for Myanmar to take action on three key fronts: end military operations, allow unhindered humanitarian aid access, ensure safe return of refugees.

But there are concerns about the regional impact this crisis might have, beyond the immediate humanitarian emergency.

“The crisis has generated multiple implications for neighboring States and the larger region, including the risk of inter-communal strife,” Antonio Guterres, the U.N. Secretary General said.

Some world leaders and human rights groups have accused the Myanmar military of conducting ethnic cleansing and genocide in their response to the August 25 attack by Rohingya militants.

The Myanmar military has said it was only targeting militants, but U.N. and aid workers have cited accounts of Rohingyas being shot at, houses and villagers burned, landmines use on civilians, and sexual violence against women and girls.

“We cannot be afraid to call the actions of the Burmese authorities what they appear to be: a brutal, sustained campaign to cleanse the country of an ethnic minority,” Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. said.

But Russia and China called for restraint and diplomacy.

“We need to be careful when we wield such notions of genocide and ethnic cleansing,” Vasily Nebenzya, Russia’s U.N. ambassador said.

The Chinese ambassador added that the international community should encourage dialogue and communication between Myanmar and Bangladesh to properly address the exodus and find a lasting solution. And while many diplomats echo the same sentiment that the root causes of this crisis need to be addressed, a recent opportunity for U.N. monitors to visit Rakhine state to assess the situation on the ground themselves, has been canceled by the Myanmar government.

Azeem Ibrahim discusses the Rohingya refugee emergency’s development

CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke with Azeem Ibrahim, a research professor at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, about the development of the development of the Rohingya refugee emergency.