World

UN chief calls for end to Rohingya crisis

UNITED NATIONS:The UN Security Council on Wednesday broke its weeks-long silence on the crisis in Myanmar and called for an end to the violence as UN chief Antonio Guterres said the military campaign amounted to ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims.

Following a closed-door meeting, the 15-member council including China, a supporter of Myanmar's former ruling junta, expressed concern about excessive force during security operations in Rakhine state and called for "immediate steps" to end the violence.

It was the first time the council agreed on a united response to the crisis sparked by a military crackdown that followed attacks by Rohingya militants late last month.

Some 380,000 Rohingya have fled across the border into neighbouring Bangladesh and there have been growing appeals for Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi to speak out in defence of the Rohingya.

Ms Suu Kyi's spokesman earlier said the Nobel laureate and long-time human rights champion would deliver an address next week on peace and reconciliation in Myanmar.

At a press conference in New York, Mr Guterres said: "I call on the Myanmar authorities to suspend military action, end the violence, uphold the rule of law and recognise the right of return of all those who had to leave the country."

Asked if he agreed the Rohingya population was being ethnically cleansed, he replied: "When one-third of the Rohingya population has got to flee the country, can you find a better word to describe it?"- AFP

United NationsMyanmarRace & Religion