Access for humanitarian organizations must be allowed to provide appropriate response as communities respond to Covid-19 and the monsoon season, reads the missions’ statement
Diplomatic missions of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia in Myanmar have expressed deep concern over the reports of Myanmar military’s crackdown on ethnic minorities in Rakhine and Chin States.
“We are deeply concerned by the reports of the Myanmar military’s clearance operations along the Kyauktan village tract in Rathedaung Township, Rakhine State,” said a joint statement of the four missions posted on the official website of the US Embassy in Burma (Myanmar), reports BSS.
They also expressed their concern at the worsening humanitarian and security situation in Rakhine and southern Chin State.
“We are aware of the historic impacts of such operations disproportionately affecting civilians,” read the statement.
The diplomatic missions feared that the fleeing of villagers along the Kyauktan village tract will further contribute to Rakhine’s already significant and increasing internally displaced population.
“We are aware of reports of burning of property, shelling and the arrests of villagers,” they said in the statement.
The missions called on all armed actors to exercise restraint while in areas inhabited by local communities, some of whom may not, by no fault of their own, be able to seek refuge elsewhere.
Mentioning that the protection of civilians, their property and livelihoods by all parties must be prioritized, the statement said access for humanitarian organizations must be allowed to provide appropriate response, particularly as communities respond to Covid-19 and the monsoon season.
Pointing that civilians continue to bear the brunt of the conflict in Rakhine and Chin states, the missions observed that dialogue between armed actors is urgently needed.
The diplomatic missions also warned that the Myanmar military has obligations under international law to implement the International Court of Justice (ICJ) provisional measures.
On June 24, the Rakhine State’s Ministry of Security and Border Affairs issued a directive stating that the Tatmadaw (armed forces of Myanmar) will conduct clearance operations against Arakan Army in Kyauktan administrative circle, Rathedaung Township.
Meanwhile, Burma Human Rights Network (BNRN) said new escalations from the Myanmar army in the Rakhine State will put countless lives in danger and defy orders of the International Court of Justice.
“The announcement of new clearance operations, along with reports of fresh skirmishes, is extremely concerning. Burma (Myanmar) is putting countless Rakhine and Rohingya civilian lives at risk needlessly and in defiance of the ICJ’s provisional measures to prevent further harm to the Rohingya,” said BHRN Executive Director Kyaw Win in a statement.
These attacks are also being carried out despite calls from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to halt conflict as nations struggle to address Covid-19 and ensure the health of their citizens, he added.
Bangladesh hosts over 1.1 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in the Cox’s Bazar district, and most of them arrived there since August 25, 2017, after a military crackdown by Myanmar,
The crackdown was called a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” by the United Nations, while other rights groups dubbed it as “genocide”.