UN Security Council to meet on Sept 13 to discuss violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state

Rohingya Muslim refugees arrive from Myanmar through Lomba Beel after crossing the Naf river in the Bangladeshi town of Teknaf, on Sept 7, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) - The United Nations Security Council will meet on Wednesday (Sept 13) to discuss the violence in Myanmar that has sent more than 300,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh, the council president said.

Britain and Sweden requested the urgent meeting amid growing international concern over the ongoing violence in Rakhine state.

"It's a sign of the significant worry that Security Council members have about the situation that is continuing to deteriorate for the many Rohingyas who are seeking to flee Rakhine state," British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told reporters.

On Monday, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein accused Myanmar of waging a "systematic attack" on the Rohingya and warned that "ethnic cleansing" seemed to be under way.

Myanmar's de facto leader, Nobel peace prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, has faced strong international criticism over the military crackdown on the Muslim minority, which began when Rohingya militants ambushed security forces in Rakhine State on Aug 25.

The council met behind closed doors in late August to discuss the violence, but there was no formal statement from the council.

Rycroft said he hoped for agreement on a "public outcome" of the meeting on Wednesday.

UN diplomats have said China has been resisting involvement by the top UN council in addressing the crisis.

Fellow Nobel laureates Malala Yousafzai, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama have urged Suu Kyi to distance herself from the military and speak out on the violence.

The UN refugee agency says at least 313,000 Rohingya have now arrived in Bangladesh from Rakhine State since Aug 25, about a third of the total population of 1.1 million.

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