UN Security Council to discuss Rohingya crisis tomorrow

UNITED NATIONS • The United Nations Security Council will meet tomorrow to discuss the violence in Myanmar and hear UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' briefing on the crisis, diplomats said.

Britain, France, the United States and four other countries requested the meeting after more than 430,000 people, mostly Rohingya Muslims, fled an army campaign in Myanmar in recent weeks and crossed into Bangladesh.

Council members were also to get an update on the situation in Myanmar yesterday, ahead of the formal briefing by the UN chief, which will be held in an open session. The meeting was also requested by Egypt, Kazakhstan, Senegal and Sweden, which are non-permanent council members.

The UN has described the military operation as "ethnic cleansing" and French President Emmanuel Macron last week even called it "genocide". Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has denounced the Rohingyas' plight, accused Myanmar of waging "Buddhist terror" against the Muslim minority. He also denounced the "genocide".

The military operation was sparked by attacks carried out by Rohingya militants on police posts on Aug 25. Earlier this month, the security council called for "immediate steps" to end the violence.

The 1.1 million-strong Rohingya have suffered years of discrimination in Myanmar, where they are denied citizenship even though many have longstanding roots in the country.

Early this month, Mr Guterres took the rare step of sending a letter to the council to express concern about the "humanitarian catastrophe" unfolding, raising fears that it could have "implications for peace and security" beyond Myanmar's borders.

Rights groups are pushing the council to threaten sanctions against Myanmar's government and urging countries to review military cooperation.



Long wait for aid

At Balukhali camp in Bangladesh yesterday, thousands of Rohingya who fled Myanmar's Rakhine state had to wait patiently for food aid given by the
Bangladesh army, even as the refugee crisis continues. The United Nations Security Council will discuss the situation tomorrow, and UN Secretary-General
Antonio Guterres is expected to brief members on the situation.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2017, with the headline 'UN Security Council to discuss Rohingya crisis tomorrow'. Subscribe