Rohingya crisis: United Kingdom mounts pressure on Myanmar to act

Frederick Owens
September 14, 2017

Kochi, Sep 12 A Kerala-based Islamic outfit has written to the Norwegian Nobel Institute to revoke the Nobel prize awarded to Aung San Suu Kyi, alleging that the Myanmar government guided by her has persecuted the Rohingya Muslim minority in the country.

Another Nobel Peace Prize victor, Malala Yousafzai, pressed Ms Suu Kyi to act, saying: "Every time I see the news, my heart breaks at the suffering of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar (Burma)".

Suu Kyi will miss the assembly's ministerial session, which opens September 19 and runs through September 25, in order to address domestic security issues, according to presidential office spokesman Zaw Htay.

The Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority, have faced decades of persecution in Myanmar where they are regarded as illegal immigrants.

The government says it is targeting "terrorists", while refugees say the offensive aims to push Rohingya out of Myanmar.

In Washington, the U.S. State Department on Thursday voiced its concern "following serious allegations of human rights abuses including mass burnings of Rohingya villages and violence conducted by security forces and also armed civilians".

The Bangladeshi prime minister is visiting a struggling refugee camp that has absorbed some of the hundreds of thousands who fled recent violence in Myanmar.

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Rights groups briefed U.N. Security Council diplomats on the Myanmar violence on Friday.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said the estimated number of Rohingya who fled to Bangladesh since violence erupted in Myanmar on August 25 had risen from 164,000 on Thursday, after aid workers found big groups in border areas. "The world is waiting and the Rohingya Muslims are waiting". At least 300 boats carrying Rohingya arrived in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar district on Wednesday, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said.

She pledged that Bangladesh would do its best to help the Rohingya, but said Myanmar should take steps soon to "take their nationals back".

Patel said Britain was ready to support the recommendations of the Kofi Annan-led Rakhine Advisory Commission to assist the long-term development of all people in Rakhine state, but now the immediate action is for the security forces to end the violence and Yangon to allow humanitarian access.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged Buddhist-majority Myanmar to bring the Rohingya back, while parliament passed a motion Monday night urging the United Nations and other countries to pressure Myanmar for their safety and citizenship.

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said one flight chartered by the United Nations refugee agency carried shelter materials, sleeping mats and other emergency supplies for a refugee camp in Cox's Bazar district in the country's southeast. "Humanitarian agencies are deploying mobile medical teams, installing emergency latrines, providing water, and are distributing tarpaulins for basic shelter and food rations to new arrivals".

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