WORLD

UK urges Myanmar to grant access to UN mission

UK URGES MYANMAR TO GRANT ACCESS TO UN MISSION

The U.K. has urged Myanmar's government to cooperate with a UN mission to crisis-hit Rakhine state, a British minister said on Monday.

Britain "strongly condemns the latest violence," Lord Ahmad, the U.K.'s Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the United Nations told the 36th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

"We urge all parties to de-escalate tensions, and address the desperate and deteriorating humanitarian crisis," the minister said.

The U.K. was "concerned about previous allegations of human rights violations by the Burmese security forces, to which this Council responded by setting up a Fact Finding Mission", Ahmad said, referring to Myanmar by its former name.

"Let us make no mistake: it is the security forces in the lead in Rakhine. They bear the primary responsibility to protect civilians, and abide by international norms, and we call on them to do so," he added.

The UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein also called on the Myanmar government to end the "brutal security operation" in the country's Muslim-populated areas.

He said Myanmar's security operation in Rakhine state "seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing".

The UN also revealed that more than 270,000 people had fled to Bangladesh so far with more trapped on the border, amid reports of extrajudicial killings.

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