The US Department of State has expressed concern over violence in the northern Rakhine State of Myanmar, which has resulted in displacement of large number of Rohingya Muslims.
“I know this is something that we’re monitoring closely,” the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Wednesday in reply to a question about the violence in Myanmar.
Sanders, however, did not provide further details regarding the matter.
An official of the State Department told Bangla Tribune: “We are deeply concerned by the sustained reports of significant violence and the impact on civilian populations in northern Rakhine State subsequent to the August 25 Arakan Rakhine Salvation Army (ARSA) attacks on security posts.
“These reports include allegations of violence conducted by security forces and civilians, as well as additional attacks by ARSA.”
Stating that the US Embassy is following developments closely, the official said: “It is difficult to verify reports in light of the current security situation and restrictions on media and NGO access to affected areas.”
Replying to a query, the official said: “We are in close contact with Burma’s [Myanmar] government regarding the situation in Rakhine and have publicly and privately discussed this issue at the highest levels.
“We are also in touch with Burma’s [Myanmar’s] neighbours and other international partners.”
US also urged Myanmar government to thoroughly investigate all cases of alleged abuses, including those by security forces.
“We also strongly urge the government and security forces to prevent civilians from joining any security operations. The US Embassy stands ready to support Burma’s [Myanmar] government in ensuring that members of all communities are protected and assisted,” said the State Department official.
The official also said US has welcomed the final report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State released on August 24 and offered support to the Myanmar government as it is working to address the long-term challenges addressed in the report.
In a statement, Canada Global Affairs also joined US in condemning the violence in Myanmar.
Regarding refugees fleeing to Bangladesh, the statement said: “We call on the security forces to ensure the safety and protection of all civilians.
“Canada remains very alarmed by the allegations of serious human rights abuses by security forces against the Rohingya population.”
According to the United Nations, nearly 125,00 Rohingya Muslims entered Bangladesh from Myanmar’s northwestern Rakhine state since the violence began on August 25, when Rohingya insurgents attacked dozens of police posts and an army base. The ensuing clashes and a military counter-offensive have killed at least 400 people.