UNITED NATIONS — The reputation of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s government in Burma is at stake amid international concerns over how it is dealing with violence in the country’s divided northwest, a senior United Nations official warned on Tuesday.
The conflict in Burma’s Arakan State has sent hundreds of Rohingya Muslims fleeing across the border to Bangladesh amid allegations of abuses by security forces. The crisis
poses a serious challenge to Nobel Peace Prize winner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who swept to power last year on promises of national reconciliation.
In a statement, Adama Dieng, the UN’s special adviser on the prevention of genocide, said the allegations “must be verified as a matter of urgency” and urged the government to allow access to the area.
“If they are true, the lives of thousands of people are at risk. The reputation of Burma, its new government and its military forces are also at stake in this matter,” he said.
“Burma needs to demonstrate its commitment to the rule of law and to the human rights of all its populations. It cannot expect that such serious allegations are ignored or go
unscrutinized,” he said.
Soldiers have poured into the area along Burma’s frontier with Bangladesh, responding to coordinated attacks on three border posts on Oct. 9 that killed nine police officers.
Burma’s military and the government have rejected allegations by residents and rights groups that soldiers have raped Rohingya women, burned houses and killed civilians during the military operation in Arakan State.
The violence, the most serious bloodshed in Arakan since hundreds were killed in
communal clashes in 2012, has renewed international criticism that Suu Kyi has done too
little to alleviate the plight of the Rohingya minority, who are denied citizenship and
access to basic services.
“The government needs, for once and for all, to find a sustainable solution to the situation
of the Rohingya Muslims and other religious and ethnic minorities in Burma, a solution
that is in full compliance with the international human rights standards that the
government has pledged to respect,” Dieng said.