The United States on Thursday asked countries to suspend providing weapons to Myanmar over violence against Rohingya Muslims, Reuters reported. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said weapons sale to the country should be stopped until the Myanmar military puts “sufficient accountability measures in place”.

“We cannot be afraid to call the actions of the Burmese authorities what they appear to be – a brutal, sustained campaign to cleanse the country of an ethnic minority,” Haley told the UN Security Council. “The Burmese military must respect human rights and fundamental freedoms. Those who have been accused of committing abuses should be removed from command responsibilities immediately and prosecuted for wrongdoing.”

However, the United States stopped short of threatening to reimpose sanctions on Myanmar that were suspended under the Barack Obama administration.

Over 4.2 lakh Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since August 25, when attacks by insurgent groups led to a military crackdown and further violence. Myanmar National Security Adviser Thaung Tun, however, claimed at the UN that there was no ethnic cleansing or genocide happening against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

The Rohingya crisis

Rohingyas have been denied citizenship in Myanmar and are classified as illegal immigrants. The community has been subjected to violence by the Buddhist majority and the Army in Myanmar, though the country has repeatedly denied this claim.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s de-facto leader, has been facing criticism from world leaders, and the crisis has threatened to jeopardise Myanmar’s US-aided shift toward democracy after five decades of military rule.