Rohingya: President Buhari likens Myanmar crisis to Bosnia, Rwanda genocides

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday likened the violence in Myanmar against Rohingya Muslims to genocides in Bosnia and Rwanda, urging a halt to the “ongoing ethnic cleansing” and safe return of refugees.

“The Myanmar crisis is very reminiscent of what happened in Bosnia in 1995 and in Rwanda in 1994,” Buhari told the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations.

He added that the “horrendous suffering” had been caused by “state-backed program of brutal depopulation of the Rohingya inhabited areas in Myanmar on the bases of ethnicity and religion.”

BarometerNG recalls that in July Myanmar refused entry to members of a United Nations probe focusing on allegations of killings, rape and torture by security forces against Rohingya Muslims. The government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi had said it would not cooperate with a mission set up after a Human Rights Council resolution was adopted in March.

The UN Refugee Agency reported a surge in the number of Rohingya Muslims who have crossed into Bangladesh from Myanmar, with an estimated 270,000 arriving in just first two weeks of the attack on the Rohingya Muslims. The new number was confirmed Friday by Vivian Tan, spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees marks a major increase from the 164,000 estimated Thursday to have arrived since Aug. 25.

Retired South African cleric and anti-apartheid campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu had to break his silence and urged Myanmar leader and fellow Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday to intervene to help Rohingya Muslims fleeing her country.

Amnesty International said the statement by Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s office, which claims that the government is defending all the people in Rakhine state “in the best possible way”, is unconscionable. “This is a human rights and humanitarian catastrophe. In her first comments on the crisis, instead of promising concrete action to protect the people in Rakhine state, Aung San Suu Kyi appears to be downplaying the horrific reports coming out of the area,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres had earlier reiterated his call for Rohingya Muslim from Myanmar’s Rakhine state to be granted nationality or at least a legal status that would allow them to lead a normal life, while also urging the international community to help provide assistance for the nearly 380,000 people who have fled into Bangladesh.

“I call on the Myanmar authorities to suspend military action, end the violence, uphold the rule of law, and recognize the right of return of all those who had to leave the country,” the Secretary-General said in his first press conference since the opening of the 72nd session of the General Assembly.

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