UK urges Myanmar to end 'appalling violence' in Rakhine


The British government on Friday urged Myanmar to end "the appalling violence in Rakhine" and allow humanitarian aid to communities seized by brutality.

"The appalling violence in Rakhine must stop now," International Development Secretary Priti Patel said in a statement.

"Britain urgently calls upon the security forces to de-escalate the situation in Rakhine and the Government of Burma [Myanmar] to allow immediate and full humanitarian access and support for the people and communities affected," she said.

Emergency food aid from Britain needs to reach 30,000 people and more than 3,000 malnourished children in parts of the Rakhine state, where Rohingya Muslims have been subjected to cruelty and displacement, Patel said

"Things must change. The Government of Burma must act now and allow this desperately needed help to get through," she added.

Regarding the situation in neighboring Bangladesh, Patel said her government would continue to protect the most vulnerable and assist aid efforts to more than 55,000 people who have escaped Myanmar.

"Britain is ready to support the recommendations of the Kofi Annan-led Rakhine Advisory Commission to assist the long-term development of all people in Rakhine state, but right now the immediate action is for the security forces to end the violence and the Government of Burma to allow humanitarian access," Patel added.

The commission headed by the former UN chief recommended the government in Myanmar ensure full humanitarian aid access across Rakhine, persecute human rights violators, end restrictions of movement and segregation as well as "revisit" the Citizenship Law of 1982.

More than 250,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh in the last two weeks to evade persecution in Myanmar, the UN said Friday.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it interviewed 50 recently arrived Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh who described killings, shelling and arson in their villages.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised to raise the plight of the Rohingya at the annual meeting of UN General Assembly later this month

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

Last October, following attacks on border posts in Maungdaw, Myanmar security forces launched a five-month crackdown in which, according to Rohingya groups, around 400 people were killed.

The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including those of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel.

UN investigators said the human rights violations indicated crimes against humanity.

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