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Sweden, Britain seek UN meeting on situation in Myanmar

12 Sep 2017, 14:06

Reuters
Rohingya refugees walk on the shore after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border by boat through the Bay of Bengal in Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh September 11, 2017. Photo: Reuters

United Nations: Sweden and Britain on Monday requested a closed-door United Nations Security Council meeting on the ‘deteriorating situation’ in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, home to the majority-Buddhist nation’s Rohingya Muslims, diplomats said.

The meeting would likely be held on Wednesday, diplomats said.

‘I think it will be a private meeting but with a public outcome of some form,’ British UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told reporters on Monday.

‘It’s a sign of the significant worry that Security Council members have that the situation is continuing to deteriorate for many Rohingya who are seeking to flee Rakhine state in Burma and move into Bangladesh,’ Rycroft said.

The United Nations’ top human rights official slammed Myanmar earlier on Monday for conducting a ‘cruel military operation’ against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state, branding it ‘a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.’

The Security Council discussed the situation behind closed doors on August 30. In a rare letter to the council earlier this month, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern the violence could spiral into a ‘humanitarian catastrophe.’

Rights groups informally briefed Security Council diplomats on the Myanmar violence on Friday. Russia and China did not send any diplomats, according to people at the meeting. Myanmar has said it is was counting on China and Russia to protect it from any Security Council censure.

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