New York, Sep 19 (IANS) A group of countries, led by the UK, met with representatives of the Myanmar government in New York, calling on them to stop the violence against the Rohingya Muslim minority and allow aid to be provided.
Ministers from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Turkey, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Denmark and the US permanent representative in the UN, Nikki Haley, participated in the meeting on Monday which was organised by the British government on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, reports Efe news.
According to the UK, all of them called on Myanmar to end the violence, enable unhindered humanitarian access for international organisations and to implement the recommendations of the commission led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
On August 24, the day before the recent violence erupted, the UN Rakhine Advisory Commission presented a plan to the Myanmar government, with 88 recommendations to tackle the sectarian problems between the Rohingya and the Buddhist majority in Rakhine state.
“Although Myanmar has undoubtedly made encouraging progress towards democracy in recent years, the situation in Rakhine, the appalling human rights abuses and violence are a stain on the country’s reputation,” British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said.
According to Johnson, it is “vital” that the de facto leader of the country, Aung San Suu Kyi, and the government make it clear that these abuses must stop.
“I am encouraged by our discussion and the participation of senior Myanmar representatives, but now we have to see action to stop the violence and open immediate humanitarian access,” he insisted in a statement.
Haley, for her part, said the US will continue to urge the Myanmar authorities to halt military operations and commit to facilitating the safe return of civilians to their homes.
“We are not yet seeing any improvement on the ground and we continue to hear reports of violence and suffering,” the diplomat said in a statement.
The situation in Myanmar is one of the crisis that world leaders will be tackling during the coming week as they meet in New York for the UN General Assembly.
The United Nations has warned that ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslim minority and possible crimes against humanity may be taking place in the country.
Some 415,000 Rohingya have fled over the border to Bangladesh since August 25 when insurgents attacked police checkposts and killed 12 security personnel.
Myanmar do not recognise the Rohingya as citizens, considering them to be Bengali immigrants, and impose multiple restrictions on them.
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