WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed on Thursday his concern to the Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces, General Min Aung Hlaing, about the humanitarian crisis facing the Rohingya Muslim minority.
In a telephone call with Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, Tillerson “urged Burma’s security forces to support the government in ending the violence in Rakhine state and allowing the safe return home of those displaced during this crisis, especially the large numbers of ethnic Rohingya,” the spokesperson for the US State Department Heather Nauert said in a statement, using Myanmar’s former name.
Tillerson also urged them to “cooperate with the United Nations to ensure a thorough, independent investigation into all allegations of human rights abuses and violations and to ensure accountability.”
Some 600,000 members of the Rohingya minority, not recognized as citizens in Myanmar, have fled from their country to Bangladesh since August, when violence against the group escalated.
The crisis escalated on Aug. 25, after an insurgent faction of the Rohingya launched a coordinated attack against police and military posts in Rakhine, to which the Myanmar Army responded with a continuing crackdown.
Tillerson also condemned that attack during his call with Min Aung Hlaing.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has described the response as “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” against the Rohingya minority.
Earlier this week, the State Department announced that it is considering sanctions against Myanmar, especially its military apparatus, for human rights violations in this humanitarian crisis.