Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi came under more pressure on Tuesday from countries with Muslim populations to halt violence against Rohingya Muslims that has sent nearly 1,25,000 of them fleeing over the border to Bangladesh in just over 10 days.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, in Dhaka to discuss aid for the fleeing Rohingya, met her Bangladeshi counterpart, Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, a day after urging Ms. Suu Kyi and Myanmar Army chief Min Aung Hlaing to halt the bloodshed.
“The security authorities need to immediately stop all forms of violence there and provide humanitarian assistance and development aid for the short and long term,” Ms. Retno said after her meetings in the Myanmar capital.
The latest violence in Myanmar’s northwestern Rakhine State began on Aug. 25, when Rohingya insurgents attacked dozens of police posts and an Army base. The ensuing clashes and a military counteroffensive have killed at least 400 people and triggered the exodus of villagers to Bangladesh.
Myanmar says its security forces are fighting a legitimate campaign against “terrorists” responsible for a string of attacks on police posts and the Army since last October.
Myanmar officials blamed Rohingya militants for the burning of homes and civilian deaths but rights monitors and Rohingya fleeing to neighbouring Bangladesh say the Myanmar Army is trying to force them out with a campaign of arson and killings.
“Indonesia is taking the lead, and ultimately there is a possibility of ASEAN countries joining in,” H.T. Imam, a political adviser to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, told Reuters.
Malaysia, another ASEAN member, summoned Myanmar’s Ambassador to express displeasure over the violence and scolded Myanmar for making “little, if any” progress on the problem.
“Malaysia believes that the matter of sustained violence and discrimination against the Rohingya should be elevated to a higher international forum,” Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said in a statement.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has said the violence against Rohingya Muslims constituted genocide, told Ms. Suu Kyi that the violence was of deep concern to the Muslim world, and he was sending his Foreign Minister to Bangladesh.