The UN Security Council has expressed concern over violence in Myanmar’s restive Rakhine state from where thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh, asking the government to take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation and re-establish law and order. An estimated 380,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees have fled Myanmar and reached Bangladesh after a crackdown by Myanmarese security forces in response to an attack on a military outpost by Rohingya militants on August 25.
Expressing concern over the situation, the UN Security Council called for immediate steps to end the violence, de-escalate the situation and re-establish law and order. In a statement, Security Council “expressed deep concern” about the situation in Rakhine State. Acknowledging the initial attacks on Myanmar security forces on August 25, the 15-membered body condemned the subsequent violence which has led to over 300,000 people being displaced.
The members called for protection of civilians in Myanmar and restoration of normal socio-economic conditions. “This is the first time in nine years that the Security Council has agreed on this particular issue, on Myanmar,” British Ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York.
“We were united in our concern about the situation, in the deterioration of the situation and we have heard graphically from the Secretary-General and Jeff Feltman who briefed us on the catastrophe that is befalling Rakhine State and Rohingya there,” he said. Rycroft said the members agreed that there must be an end to the security operations and there must be full humanitarian access wherever it is needed.
“And the Government of Myanmar has an important obligation in looking to the longer term in implementing the recommendations of the Annan Commission,” he said. The Security Council also welcomed Bangladesh’s efforts to provide assistance to refugees and welcomed UN and other international efforts to support Dhaka in this regard.
Noting the commitments made by Myanmar to provide humanitarian assistance to all displaced individuals without discrimination, they called on the government to fulfil these commitments, facilitate humanitarian assistance to those in need in Rakhine State, and to ensure the protection and safety of humanitarian actors. They encouraged further dialogue and cooperation among states concerned.
Agreeing on the importance of a long-term solution to the situation in Rakhine, members of the Security Council called for implementation of the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State. “In that context, they welcomed as a first step the Government of Myanmar’s establishment of the ‘Ministerial Implementation Committee’ for the Rakhine Advisory Commission. They confirmed that the international community stands ready to support the Government of Myanmar with its implementation,” the statement said.