Washington D.C. [U.S.A.]: United States’ Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday said that the U.S. was concerned about the mass exodus of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar’s Rakhine region, and held the country’s military leadership accountable for the humanitarian crisis.
“We really hold the military leadership accountable for what’s happening,” Tillerson said while delivering remarks on his first major policy speech on India at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
He further said that Myanmar should understand that the approach to deal with rebels and terrorists must be disciplined and restrained.
“Understand you have rebels and terrorists in that part but you must be disciplined and restrained in dealing with them,” he said.
Tillerson, who’s set to visit South Asia next week, urged the Myanmar government to improve humanitarian access to the population in western Rakhine state.
He said the reports of atrocities on Rohingya are “heartbreaking and someone has to be held to account. It’s a real test for the power-sharing government in Myanmar.”
The U.S. will remain engaged on this issue, he added.
“What’s most important to us is that the world can’t just stand idly by and be witness to the atrocities that are being reported in the area,” he further said.
Earlier on Tuesday, The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that at least 10,000 to 15000 Rohingya refugees are stranded near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.
More than 500,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since the Myanmar security forces launched an operation in response to alleged attacks by militants on August 25 against 30 police posts and a regimental headquarters.
The Rakhine state is home to the Rohingya community or the ethnic Muslims of Myanmar, who have long faced persecution in the Buddhist-majority country, especially from the country’s Buddhist extremists.