Having crossed the Naf River from Myanmar into Bangladesh and spent a night in the open, Rohingya Muslims are prevented from moving ahead towards refugee camps by Bangladeshi border guards at Palong Khali.
Having crossed the Naf River from Myanmar into Bangladesh and spent a night in the open, Rohingya Muslims are prevented from moving ahead towards refugee camps by Bangladeshi border guards at Palong Khali. Dar Yasin

Tillerson says Myanmar must act

SECRETARY of State Rex Tillerson has warned Myanmar's military leadership the US holds it responsible for the harsh crackdown on the country's Rohingya Muslim minority.

"The world can't just stand idly by and be witness to the atrocities that are being reported in the area,” Mr Tillerson told Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

"We really hold the military leadership accountable for what's happening.”

More than 500,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar since late August when police and military launched a series of fierce attacks in company with Buddhist civilians.

There have been consistent reports from those who have fled of killings, gang rape and torture and the burning down of villages.

"Someone, if these reports are true, is going to be held to account for that,” Mr Tillerson said.

"And it's up to the military leadership of Burma (Myanmar) to decide, 'What direction do they want to play in the future of Burma?'”

The European Union and the US are considering targeted sanctions against Myanmar's military leadership.

The United Nations special adviser on the prevention of genocide, Adama Dieng, and the special adviser on the responsibility to protect, Ivan Simonovic, issued a statement that labels the international response to the crisis as a failure.

"Despite warnings issued by us and by many other officials, the government of Myanmar has failed to meet its obligations under international law and primary responsibility to protect the Rohingya population from atrocity crimes,” the joint statement said.

"The international community has equally failed its responsibilities in this regard.”

The UN Security Council has demanded Myanmar cease military operations in Rakhine, let aid workers in and allow the safe return of the Rohingya refugees.

"Once again, our failure to stop atrocity crimes makes us complicit. When will we live up to our countless promises of 'never again'?” Mr Dieng and Mr Simonovic asked.



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