The UN Security Council is set to hold a meeting to discuss the deteriorating situation of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, a day after the world body’s rights chief voiced the alarm about the ongoing crimes against the minority group which he described as an example of “ethnic cleansing.”
According to Press TV, the 15-nation member announced it would hold an emergency meeting at the request of Sweden and Britain on Wednesday, amid an international outcry against the Myanmar government’s bloody crackdown on the minority Muslim community.
“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.
The announcement came hours after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein denounced Myanmar’s brutal operation in Rakhine, warning it amounted to “ethnic cleansing.”
The country’s disgraced Leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has defended the military’s operation as part of the “legitimate duty to restore stability” in the western state after a number of armed attacks on police and army posts there on August 25.
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims, who are denied citizenship by the state and have suffered years of persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, have been forced to flee the country in the past fortnight following a brutal crackdown the government describes as a “cleansing operation.”
A petition has already collected hundreds of thousands of signatures calling for Suu Kyi’s Nobel title to be revoked. Fellow Nobel laureates have also criticized the Myanmarese leader’s stance on the ongoing violence, urging her to take action to defend the Rohingya’s rights.
Critics have blamed her for complicity in the atrocities against the Rohingya, who are looked down on by the majority Buddhists in the country as illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
The Council met behind closed doors in late August to discuss the violence, but there was no formal statement.
The UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar has said the latest wave of violence may have left more than 1,000 dead, most of them Rohingya Muslims.