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Rohingya crisis: UN chief asks Suu Kyi to allow return of Muslim refugees

Over 6,00,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh from predominantly Buddhist Myanmar's Rakhine state

Press Trust of India  |  Manila 

Rohingya Muslims walk to the shore after arriving on a boat from Myanmar to Bangladesh in Shah Porir Dwip. Photo: AP | PTI
Rohingya Muslims walk to the shore after arriving on a boat from Myanmar to Bangladesh in Shah Porir Dwip. Photo: AP | PTI

UN chief Antonio Guterres on Tuesday met leader Aung San and urged her to take steps to ensure "dignified" return of hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees who have fled the country to Bangladesh following violence against them.

Separately on the margins of the ASEAN summit in Manila, the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also met and discussed the humanitarian crisis in the

In his meeting with Myanmar's State Counsellor, the UN Secretary General highlighted the need for allowing the return of displaced Muslims who have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh.

The issue also figured during a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump last night.

"The Secretary-General and the State Counsellor discussed the situation in 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," the UN said in a statement.

Over 6,00,000 Muslims have fled to Bangladesh from predominantly Buddhist Myanmar's since late August after large-scale violence.

The crisis erupted after rebels attacked police posts in Rakhine, triggering a military crackdown that saw hundreds of villages reduced to ashes and sparked a massive exodus.

Top leaders of nearly 19 countries and officials of the UN and the European Union are here to attend the summits of powerful ASEAN and East Asia groupings.

Rights groups have also slammed Nobel laureate Suu Kyi, a former democracy activist, for failing to speak up for the or condemn festering anti-Muslim sentiment in the country following the humanitarian crisis.

Guterres also mentioned about the issue at an ASEAN-UN meeting. "It is a worrying escalation in a protracted tragedy and a potential source of instability in the region," he said.

According to Philippine Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, the Rohinya issue figured during ASEAN Plenary.

"specifically said one, they are in process of attending to Kofi Annan report. Two, they welcome humanitarian assistance. And that the process of repatriation of (Rohingya) would conclude after signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Bangladesh," Roque told a press conference.

The report by former UN chief Kofi Annan recommended a series of measures including citizenship verification and ensuring rights and equality of the refugees to defuse the crisis.

First Published: Tue, November 14 2017. 16:16 IST
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