Tillerson: 'Heartbreaking' reports of suffering in Myanmar

Rohingya Muslim refugees wait for relief supplies at Thaingkhali refugee camp in Ukhia on Oct. 20 2017.
Some 582,000 Rohingya refugees have fled their homes in Myanmar and arrived in Bangladesh since late August the United Nations said Oct. 17 warning

Secretary of state Rex Tillerson said Myanmar's military was responsible for the Rohingya crisis, stopping short of saying whether the USA would take action against the leadership in the country.

The Rakhine state is home to the Rohingya community or the ethnic Muslims of Myanmar, who have long faced persecution in the Buddhist-majority country, especially from the country's Buddhist extremists.

The authorities in Myanmar "appear to be in denial of what has happened", the lawmakers said in a letter to Tillerson.

Washington has worked hard to establish close ties with Myanmar's civilian-led government led by Nobel laureate and former dissident Aung San Suu Kyi in the face of competition from strategic rival China.

Last week the United Nations had said over 11,000 Rohingyas had crossed into Bangladesh in one day after the rate of influx had slowed to 2,000 per day.

The western region descended into chaos when Rohingya militants attacked Myanmar police posts on August 25, triggering the brutal military crackdown.

He further said that Myanmar should understand that the approach to deal with rebels and terrorists must be disciplined and restrained.

Tillerson says accounts of the suffering of the Rohingya are "heartbreaking" — and that if those reports are true, then "someone is going to be held to account for that".

The authorities needed to allow access to northern Rakhine "so we can get a full accounting of the circumstances", the top U.S. diplomat said.

Tillerson said Washington saw Myanmar as "an important emerging democracy", but the Rohingya crisis was a test of what he called its "power-sharing government".



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