The United States on Tuesday described Myanmar denials of ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims as “preposterous” as it called on the UN Security Council to hold the military accountable and pressure leader Aung San Suu Kyi “to acknowledge these horrific acts that are taking place in her country,” reports Reuters
“Powerful forces in the Burmese government have denied the ethnic cleansing in Rakhine State,” US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the Security Council.
“To make sure no one contradicts their preposterous denials, they are preventing access to Rakhine to anyone or any organization that might bear witness to their atrocities, including the UN Security Council,” Haley said.
Haley also called for the release of Reuters news agency reporters arrested for reporting on the massacre of Rohingya Muslims.
The Reuters special report, published last week, lays out events leading up to the killing of 10 Rohingya men from Inn Din village in Rakhine state who were buried in a mass grave after being hacked to death or shot by Buddhist neighbors and soldiers.
French UN Ambassador Francois Delattre also told the Security council that a massacre of Rohingya Muslims reported by Reuters could “constitute crimes against humanity.”
Myanmar has denied that ethnic cleansing has taken place.
Any push for UN Security Council action is likely to face resistance from council veto powers Russia and China, who both said on Tuesday the situation in Rakhine state was stable and under control.
“Using labels and attempts to use contradictory and subjective reports of the media ... to find out who’s guilty and condemn them only move us farther away from a solution,” Russia’s Deputy UN Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy warned.
Nearly 690,000 Rohingya have fled Rakhine state and crossed into southern Bangladesh since last August, when attacks on security posts by insurgents triggered a military crackdown that the United Nations has said may amount to genocide.
“Conditions are not yet conducive to the voluntary repatriation of Rohingya refugees,” UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi told the Security Council.