Rohingya crisis: ‘Last chance’ for Aung San Suu Kyi


Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionAntonio Guterres told the BBC he feared an ‘absolutely horrible’ tragedy

Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has “a last chance” to halt an army offensive that has forced hundreds of thousands of the mainly Muslim Rohingya to flee abroad, the UN head has said.

Antonio Guterres told the BBC that unless she acted now, “the tragedy will be absolutely horrible”.

The UN has warned the offensive could amount to ethnic cleansing.

Myanmar says it is responding to last month’s deadly attacks by militants and denies it is targeting civilians.

The military launched its operation after the attacks on police in the northern Rakhine state.

In an interview with BBC’s HARDtalk programme ahead of this week’s UN General Assembly, Mr Guterres said Aung San Suu Kyi had a last chance to stop the offensive during her address to the nation on Tuesday.

“If she does not reverse the situation now, then I think the tragedy will be absolutely horrible, and unfortunately then I don’t see how this can be reversed in the future.”

The secretary-general reiterated that the Rohingya should be allowed to return home.

He also said it was clear that Myanmar’s military “still have the upper hand” in the country, putting pressure “to do what is being done on the ground” in Rakhine.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionThe BBC’s Jonathan Head went on a government-organised trip to Rakhine state last week

Aung San Suu Kyi – a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who spent many years under house arrest in the junta-run Myanmar (Burma) – is now facing growing criticism over the Rohingya issue.

She will not be attending the UN General Assembly in New York, and has claimed that the crisis is being distorted by a “huge iceberg of misinformation”.

She said tensions were being fanned by fake news promoting the interests of terrorists.

Mr Guterres’ warning comes after Bangladesh said it was now limiting the movement of more than 400,000 Rohingya who have fled from Myanmar.

Bangladeshi police said Rohingya would not be allowed to travel anywhere outside of their allocated homes, not even to live with family or friends.

Transport operators and drivers have also been urged not to carry refugees, with landlords told not to rent out any property to them.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionThe BBC speaks to Rohingya who say they were injured in landmine blasts

Bangladesh also announced plans to build shelters for up to 400,000 people near the city of Cox’s Bazar.

Analysts say the government wants to stop the Rohingya from disappearing into the general population and to keep them visible, in the hope of returning them to Myanmar – or even a third country.

On 25 August, Rohingya militants attacked police posts in northern Rakhine, killing 12 security personnel.

Image caption The violence has been concentrated in Myanmar’s Rakhine area

Rohingya who have fled Myanmar since then say the military responded with a brutal campaign, burning villages and attacking civilians in a bid to drive them out.

The Rohingya, a stateless mostly Muslim minority in Buddhist-majority Rakhine, have long experienced persecution in Myanmar, which says they are illegal immigrants.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionWatch: Who are the Rohingya?

Some who fled from Rakhine state told the BBC earlier this month about killings, rape and even massacres, while inside Rakhine, a BBC crew witnessed charred homes inside Rakhine.

A new Human Rights Watch report released on Friday accused the Myanmar military of an “ethnic cleansing campaign” and detailed scores of villages targeted with arson attacks.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionThe BBC’s Fergal Keane spoke to Buddhists in Myanmar’s second city, Mandalay

Myanmar officials blame the Rohingya insurgents for the violence, with government spokesman Zaw Htay urging displaced people to find refuge in temporary camps set up in Rakhine state.

However, Mr Htay said Myanmar would not be able to allow all those who fled to Bangladesh to return.

View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-41297145

The full interview with Antonio Gutteres will be broadcast on BBC World News on Monday, 18 September at 03:30, 08:30; 14:30 and 19:30 (all times GMT).

In the same category are

Zimbabwe: Mugabe to meet with army chief on his future Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionZimbabweans rallied to celebrate the army's takeover of the countryZimbabwe's President Ro...
Argentina missing submarine: Satellite signals detected Image copyright EPA Image caption The vessel is the newest of the three submarines in the Argentine navy's fleet Signals have been detected that a...
The Battle of Cambrai: ‘We had a sense of victory for the first time’ Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionThe battle of Cambrai saw massed tanks smash a deep hole in German defencesAfter years of ...
Brazil culture wars heat up Image copyright Ligia Jardim Image caption The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven has been playing to packed audiences in Brazil Jesus is ...
The artists who turned vegan skincare into big business Image caption The company's products, such as this body scrub mix, are growing in popularity The tiny factory for Meow Meow Tweet in the New York ...
Why some Germans look at Syrian refugees and see themselves Image caption Christa Nolte as a baby with her mother and her brother - she still has the teddy bear Between 1944 and 1947, an estimated 12 millio...

Dont forget to “Like” us on Facebook


Need something to share, visit our sister site for the

‘News in the last 30 days”

in a clear concise package ….

 

If you are an artist or interested in art, visit our art website and read about todays artscene and browse some of our artist profiles

 

Comment on this story