World Media

Myanmar faces 'defining moment', must stop the violence

Myanmar faces 'defining moment', must stop the violence

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has used strong language in addressing the atrocities in Myanmar, referring to it as "ethnic cleansing" and "an abomination".

Violence in Myanmar has invited reactions from around the world.

The crisis has drawn global condemnation, with United Nations officials demanding Myanmar halt what they described as a campaign of ethnic cleansing that has driven almost 400,000 Rohingya to flee Rakhine state. In the wake of an attack late past year on police by militants of the Muslim Rohingya minority - they make up about 4% of the overwhelmingly Buddhist nation - the military unleashed an indiscriminate crackdown on Rohingya towns.

Myanmar's Vice-President Henry Van Thio will be attending the UN Security Council meeting today (September 13) instead of State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi.

archiA trade delegation from the European Parliament decided on Thursday to postpone a planned visit to Myanmar due to the recent violent crackdown on Rohingya Muslims.

But Tillerson and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who were addressing reporters at a joint press conference in London, stopped short of criticizing Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, or the government she oversees.

The Muslim Rohingyas have been fleeing from Myanmar (Burma) by the thousands. Observers say the violence is being carried out by the Burmese military.

"We are very much active in relation to the Rohingya crisis but unfortunately it has not been easy because the government of Myanmar until now has been completely deaf to our requests", Guterres said on September 15.

Guterres repeated his call for "an effective action plan" to address the root causes of the situation, which he said he been left to fester for decades and has now escalated beyond Myanmar's borders, destabilizing the region.

The refugees are fleeing a fresh security operation in which military forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages. Since the Rohingya are considered to be illegal Bengali immigrants and were denied recognition as a religion by the government of Myanmar, the dominant group, the Rakhine, rejects the label "Rohingya" and have started to persecute the Rohingya.