Myanmar’s U.N. ambassador says ‘no ethnic cleansing, genocide’ against Muslims, UN Shocked

Myanmar’s United Nations ambassador insisted on Monday that there is no “ethnic cleansing” or genocide taking place against Muslims and objected “in the strongest terms” to countries that used those words to describe the situation in Rakhine State.

Among those who accused Myanmar of trying to rid itself of Rohingya were Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, and a number of Islamic countries, including the United Arab Emirates.

Hau Do Suan, Permanent Representative of Myanmar to the U.N, denied those claims.

“There is no ethnic cleansing. There is no genocide,” he said. “The leaders of Myanmar, who have long been striving for freedom and human rights, will not espouse such policies. We will do everything to prevent ethnic cleansing and genocide.”

Pointing to the initial attack by the insurgent Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, known as ARSA, he said, “It is the responsibility of every government to fight against terrorism and protect innocent civilians.”

The Ambassador said there are several reasons for the exodus and “prominent among them is the fear factor”. Following the August 25 attacks and the security operation, he said, “most of the women and children were forced to flee” while men were conscripted into ARSA to fight Myanmar’s security forces.

“The scorched earth policy employed by the terrorists is another factor,” Mr. Suan said. “The terrorists planted IEDs everywhere, blew up bridges, and committed arsons.”

The council, the U.N.’s most powerful body, is scheduled to hold private consultations on Myanmar on Tuesday and an open meeting on Thursday.

Mr. Suan said humanitarian assistance is the government’s top priority and in cooperation with the Red Cross it has started humanitarian assistance to the displaced.

Courtesy: The Hindu