Sunday, 5 December 2021

Rex Tillerson calls for Myanmar Rohingya crisis probe

Rex Tillerson

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has called for an independent investigation into Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis.

Myanmar’s army has been accused of killing Rohingya people and burning their villages, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee to Bangladesh.

Mr Tillerson said the crisis concerned the US, but added that sanctions against Myanmar were “not advisable” at this time.

His comments came after he met Aung Sang Suu Kyi and Myanmar’s military.

International pressure has been mounting for months on Aung Sang Suu Kyi to condemn the army’s alleged brutality and what the UN described as “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

Ms Suu Kyi is the de-facto head of Myanmar’s civilian administration but does not have control over the military.


She is accused of ignoring the plight of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority which is left stateless in majority-Buddhist Myanmar.

Speaking on Wednesday at a joint press briefing with Ms Suu Kyi, Mr Tillerson said the US was “distressed” by the suffering of the refugees fleeing to Bangladesh.

“Scenes of what occurred are just horrific,” he told reporters, adding that it was the biggest crisis Myanmar faced since the transition from military rule.

About 600,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar since August this year, after a counter-insurgency operation responding to Rohingya militants attacking police posts and killing members of the security forces.

Mr Tillerson condemned the attack by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa), calling it an “unprovoked attack” that US had “zero tolerance” for.

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