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UN calls for end to Myanmar attacks on Rohingya

On Thursday, UN member states urged the Myanmar authorities to end a military campaign against Rohingya Muslims in a resolution passed despite opposition from China, Russia and some neighbors in the region, reports AFP.

The Human Rights Committee of the General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the measure presented by Muslim countries with a vote of 135 to 10, with 26 countries abstaining.

The UN member states said they were “very alarmed” by the violence and “more alarmed by the disproportionate use of force by Myanmar forces” against the Rohingya.

The resolution drafted by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called on the government to allow access to humanitarian workers, guarantee the return of all refugees and grant the Rohingya full citizenship.

He requested that United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appoint a special envoy for Myanmar.

In addition to Russia and China, Cambodia, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam voted against the measure as well as Syria, Zimbabwe and Belarus with Myanmar.

The non-binding measure is now before the plenary for debate next month.

More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled the predominantly Buddhist country since the beginning of the Rakhine military operation in late August.

The Myanmar authorities insist that the campaign was aimed at banning Rohingya militants who attacked police stations on August 25, but the United Nations said the violence amounted to ethnic cleansing.

Addressing the commission, Saudi Ambassador Abdallah al-Moallimi said the resolution supports a solution that recognizes the “legitimate rights of Muslim citizens” in Myanmar.

Myanmar Ambassador Hau Do Suan said his government “is making positive efforts to improve the situation” in Rakhine State, which he said was “stable”.

Earlier this month, the UN Security Council accepted a statement urging Myanmar to “ensure that there is no excessive use of military force in Rakhine State” .

Britain and France initially proposed that the Council adopt a formal resolution on Myanmar, but China opposed such a move.

Human Rights Watch said the vote sent “a strong message to Myanmar that the world will not stand aside as its military engages in ethnic cleansing against the Rohingyas.”