US calls on UN to support Myanmar

United Nations: The US has called on the UN Security Council to support the government of Myanmar in safeguarding the “rights and dignity” of all communities in the country.

On August 30, the UN Security Council held consultations on the events that have unfolded in Myanmar.

Following deadly attacks by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), militants at security posts on August 25 and reports of Myanmar’s security forces’ subsequent response, the escalation in tensions has resulted in thousands reportedly fleeing their homes.

There have also been reports of innocent civilians being killed and injured amid the ongoing violence and of villages being burned down.

At least 18,500 Rohingya had crossed into Bangladesh since fighting erupted in Myanmar’s neighbouring Rakhine state The International Organisation for Migration said.

“The US supports democracy for the Myanmarese people, and we condemn attacks by militant groups in Rakhine State,” US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in a statement yesterday.

The Indian-origin US ambassador to the UN said as Myanmar’s security forces act to prevent further violence, “they have a responsibility to adhere to international humanitarian law, which includes refraining from attacking innocent civilians and humanitarian workers and ensuring assistance reaches those in need”.

“We call on all members of the Security Council to support the Myanmarese government in ensuring the rights and dignity of all communities in Rakhine State and throughout Myanmar,” Haley said.

Meanwhile, a UN human rights expert has expressed concern at the deteriorating situation in Rakhine State, affecting not just the Rakhine Buddhist and Rohingya Muslim populations but also other communities.

“The worsening cycle of violence is of grave concern and must be broken urgently,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, in a statement issued from the Office of UN High Commissioners for Human Rights (OHCHR).

While the world’s Muslim communities celebrated Eid al- Adha, the Rohingya remained in a precarious situation, not knowing their future or the fate of their relatives, Lee said.

Latest estimates from UN sources suggest more than 27,000 people have crossed into Bangladesh in the area around Cox’s Bazar, while 20,000 more remain stranded between the two countries.

The Special Rapporteur noted concerns over both extremist attacks and the major security operations undertaken in response to the attacks.

“I am concerned that these events will derail efforts to address the root causes of the systematic discrimination and recurrent violence in Rakhine State,” she added.

Lee went on to remind the authorities of their human rights obligations to give equal protection to people from all communities, whether from attacks by extremists or excessive action from the security forces.

Echoing findings in the final report by the Rakhine Advisory Commission led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Lee said that if human rights concerns are not properly addressed and if people remain politically and economically marginalised, then northern Rakhine may provide fertile ground for radicalisation, with people becoming increasingly vulnerable to recruitment by extremists.

Haley said the US has welcomed Myanmar’s endorsement of the Annan Commission’s recommendations and supports the government’s efforts to implement them as quickly as possible.