UN Urges Myanmar to Allow Rohingya Refugees Return Home

Rohingya muslims flee violence in Rakhine state in Myanmar. Photo: Reuters

The U.N. Security Council called on Myanmar on Monday to rein in its military campaign in Rakhine state and allow hundreds of thousands Rohingya who had to flee the violence in the country to return home.

In a unanimous statement backed by China, the council expressed “grave concern” over human rights violations, “including by the Myanmar security forces” against the Rohingya such as killing, sexual violence and burning of homes and property.

It called on the government “to ensure no further excessive use of military force in Rakhine state, to restore civilian administration and apply the rule of law.”

Council members also called for full access for humanitarian aid workers to Rakhine and said the government must address the root causes of the crisis by allowing “equal access to full citizenship.” The statement did not however threaten sanctions.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was encouraged to appoint a special advisor on Myanmar, according to the statement.

Since late August, more than 600,000 Rohingya have been driven from their homes by an army campaign that the United Nations has described as ethnic cleansing. Myanmar authorities say the military operation is aimed at rooting out Rohingya militants who staged attacks on police posts.