Tillerson declares Myanmar violence as 'ethnic cleansing'

23 Novembre, 2017, 00:19 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Tillerson declares Myanmar violence as 'ethnic cleansing'

"The United States will also pursue accountability through US law, including possible targeted sanctions".

"These abuses by some among the Burmese military, security forces, and local vigilantes have caused tremendous suffering and forced hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children to flee their homes in Burma to seek refuge in Bangladesh", he said.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the sustained and systemic attacks on the Rohingya population by the Myanmar military "ethnic cleansing" today in an acknowledgment of the nature of the humanitarian crisis.

It is a belated departure for the United States, which has used careful, restrained language since the latest crackdown began in August.

The pope's visit to Myanmar will start on Monday; he will visit Bangladesh on November 30, Cardinal Tagle said in a written statement on Tuesday.

Rohingya, described by the United Nations as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012. But while Washington has shifted gears rhetorically, it hasn't taken any steps to punish Myanmar's government just yet.

Some world leaders had already described the scorched-earth military campaign against the Rohingya as "ethnic cleansing". "It does not require any new obligations, but it does emphasize our concern about the situation".

Human rights groups have for months documented horrendous atrocities Myanmar forces carried out against the ethnic minority Rohingya Muslim groups, including gang rape, torture, and murder.

According to the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention, "ethnic cleansing" is not recognized as an independent crime under global law either - unlike "crimes against humanity" and "genocide".

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USA government sources told Reuters in October that officials were preparing a recommendation for Tillerson that would define the military-led campaign against the Rohingya as ethnic cleansing, which could spur new sanctions. "The time for outrage and condemnation has passed".

"No provocation can justify the horrendous atrocities that have ensued", Tillerson said.

"We have focused on the issue of voluntary returns", the official said.

Tillerson went on to say that the acknowledgement will have ramifications for Myanmar's government, which has enjoyed US support since its recent democratic transition.

But on Wednesday, the U.S.'s top diplomat was unequivocal in his statement denouncing Myanmar's military.

Rohingya Muslims have been persecuted in Myanmar, a majority Buddhist country, for decades, but the conflict and subsequent refugee flow has intensified in the past year.

Burke said Myanmar's Catholic cardinal, Charles Bo, had proposed during a weekend audience with Francis that he meet with Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar's powerful military chief who is in charge of operations in Rakhine.

Authorities in Buddhist-majority Myanmar have a long history of violence and oppression against the predominantly Muslim Rohingya people who live in the country's west, but in recent months the crisis has intensified. Despite widespread global condemnation, the violence has not abated. "Without urgent action, there's a high risk of more mass atrocities".

During his visit to the region last week, Tillerson stressed that Myanmar's response to the crisis would be vital to determining the success of its transition to becoming "a more democratic society" and that those responsible for such human rights abuses must be held accountable. On Tuesday, Myanmar's national security adviser, in an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal, went so far as to suggest that the testimony of victims of the violent crackdown could be part of a plot to discredit the government.

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