United Nations Secretary General António Guterres on Tuesday urged Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi to boost efforts to ensure a “dignified” return of Rohingya refugees to the country, AFP reported.
He met Myanmar’s state counsellor on the sidelines of the Business and Investment Summit of Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Manila. Myanmar is a member of ASEAN.
“The Secretary General highlighted that strengthened efforts to ensure humanitarian access, safe, dignified, voluntary and sustained returns, as well as true reconciliation between communities, would be essential,” a statement by the UN said.
In another meeting with the leaders of ASEAN countries on Monday night, Guterres said, “It [The Rohingya crisis] is a worrying escalation in a protracted tragedy and a potential source of instability in the region.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said he had spoken to Suu Kyi. “I had an extended conversation with...Aung San Suu Kyi, about the plight of the Muslim refugees in Rakhine state,” he said. “We are always looking at... how we can help, how we can move forward in a way that reduces violence, that emphasises the rule of law and that ensures protection for all citizens,” he said.
World leaders and human rights organisations have been critical of Myanmar for the “ethnic cleansing” of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine. Lakhs of Rohingya Muslims, who have been denied citizenship in Myanmar and are classified as illegal immigrants, have fled to Bangladesh since August after violence broke out. The community has been subjected to violence by the Buddhist majority and the Army in Myanmar though the country has repeatedly denied this claim.