The United States is calling on Myanmar to stop military reprisals against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State.
In a telephone conversation Thursday with Myanmar’s Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed concern about the continuing humanitarian crisis and reported atrocities in Rakhine State.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement that Tillerson urged Myanmar’s security forces to support the government in ending the violence and allow the safe return home of those displaced during the crisis, in accordance with the 1992 Joint Statement with Bangladesh and without further conditions.
Tillerson also urged the military to facilitate humanitarian aid for people in affected areas, to allow media access, and cooperate with the U.N. “to ensure a thorough, independent investigation into all allegations of human rights abuses and violations and to ensure accountability,” Nauert said.
Tillerson also condemned the Aug. 25 deadly attacks by Rohingya militants on security forces in Rakhine State, which prompted the reprisals that continue unabated.
The government security forces campaign against the Rohingya Muslims, which the U.N. has called ethnic cleansing, has created a massive exodus of more than a half-million Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh and elsewhere. Most of the refugees are women and children.
Displaced Rohingya have told harrowing accounts of how the Burmese military has burned their villages, and of killings, rape and looting. The Rohingyas also say landmines have been laid to prevent them from returning.
The Rohingya Muslims say they are a long-persecuted minority in Buddhist-majority Myanmar and are often denied even the most basic human rights.