US WARNS MYANMAR AFTER VIOLENCE AGAINST ROHINGYA MUSLIMS

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Rohingya refugees walk in the rain as they are held by the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) after crossing the border, in Teknaf. — Reuters

Southeast Asian nation has responsibility to adhere to international law, refrain from attacking civilians, US says

NEW YORK (AA) — The U.S. envoy to the UN on Thursday urged the government of Myanmar to exercise restraint after reports of mass civilian deaths among the Muslim Rohingya population in Rakhine state.

“The United States supports democracy for the Burmese people, and we condemn attacks by any militant groups in Rakhine State,” Nikki Haley said in a statement. Burma is the former name of the Southeast Asian state of Myanmar.

She called upon Burmese forces to adhere to international law, which includes refraining from attacking innocent civilians and assistance workers and ensuring assistance reaches those in need.

The statement comes after the Security Council held informal talks Wednesday over the violence. The talks ended without a formal declaration or message.

Fresh violence erupted in Rakhine state on August 25 when the country’s security forces launched an operation against the Rohingya Muslim community.

It triggered a new influx of refugees through the country toward neighboring Bangladesh that hosts 400,000 Rohingya and has sealed off its border to the refugees.

The region has seen simmering tension between its Buddhist and Muslim populations since communal violence broke out in 2012.

A security crackdown launched last October in Maungdaw, where Rohingya make up the majority, led to a UN report on human rights violations by security forces that indicated crimes against humanity.

The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings — including babies and young children — brutal beatings and disappearances. Rohingya representatives have said approximately 400 victims were slain during the crackdown.


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