“Myanmar must address the root causes of its conflicts,” said a joint statement issued Tuesday by France, Germany, Estonia, and Belgium following a closed-door UNSC meeting.
They called on Myanmar to adhere to measures aimed at preventing genocide in the Southeast Asian country against its Muslim minority citizens as set forth by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The UN has already in the past said genocide has taken place against the Rohingya in Myanmar. And the ICJ last month ordered Myanmar to protect the Muslims.
The four European countries further called on Myanmar to take “credible action to bring to justice those responsible for human rights violations.”
“Myanmar must also create conditions for and facilitate a voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of the Rohingya to Myanmar,” they said, referring to the Rohingya refugees displaced by a military-led campaign of violence against them.
The statement was also signed by former Security Council member and EU state Poland, though it marked the first time the members of the bloc issued a joint UNSC statement without the United Kingdom, which exited the EU on Friday.
Britain, however, was among the countries that had requested the meeting on Myanmar, while China — an ally of Myanmar — opposed issuing a joint declaration by the entire council, according to a diplomatic source cited in an AFP report.
Nearly 740,000 Rohingya Muslims were forced to flee Myanmar’s Rakhine State to neighboring Bangladesh following a bloody military-led crackdown that started in 2016 and that the UN said was perpetrated with “genocidal intent.”
Thousands of Rohingya were also killed in the crackdown.
Widespread rape, arson, and murder against the Rohingya have been documented by rights groups and the UN.
While the majority of Myanmar’s Rohingya population have fled to Bangladesh, violence against the remaining Muslims has not finished. A leading global telecoms operator said on Tuesday that Myanmar had re-imposed an internet shutdown in the western states of Rakhine and Chin amid new violence in the area.
Myanmar cuts off internet in violence-hit states, intercom firm saysA leading global telecoms operator says Myanmar has imposed an internet shutdown in the country’s western states of Rakhine and Chin.
Lawmakers in the regions affected by the internet shutdown said the outage could prevent aid from reaching Rohingya villages caught up in the fighting.
The purported re-imposition of the internet shutdown comes after two women, one pregnant, were killed and seven others injured in an alleged artillery attack on a Rohingya village in Rakhine on January 25.
Maung Kyaw Zan, a member of the national parliament for Buthidaung Township, told foreign press agencies that Kin Taung Village had been struck by unprovoked shelling from a nearby military battalion. The military denied pounding the village, blaming a Buddhist rebel group for the attack.