Myanmar junta's access to arms, cash must be cut off, UN rights chief says

  • World
  • Friday, 01 Mar 2024

Volker Turk, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, attends the high-level event commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, December 11, 2023. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

GENEVA (Reuters) - The international community must take "targeted action" to restrict the Myanmar junta's access to arms, jet fuel and foreign currency to prevent it from committing "atrocities" against its people, the U.N. human rights chief said on Friday.

"I repeat my call to the international community to refocus its energy on preventing atrocities against all people in the country, including the Rohingya," Volker Turk, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the Human Rights Council in Geneva, referring to the junta.

He said countries should "end the military's access to arms, jet fuel and foreign currency that it needs to sustain its campaign of repression against civilians."

Myanmar has been plunged in turmoil since the military seized power from an elected government in a 2021 coup.

Muslim Rohingya have faced persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar for decades and nearly a million of them live in crammed camps in Bangladesh's border district of Cox's Bazar. Most fled a military crackdown in 2017.

Myanmar's military rulers view the Rohingya as foreign interlopers and have denied them citizenship.

"After suffering decades of systematic discrimination, repression, massive forced displacement, and other serious human rights violations, the Rohingya today remain essentially imprisoned in villages and internment camps," Turk said.

Bangladesh said last month it will not allow any more Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to enter the country because supporting the huge numbers already there threatens its own security.

"My Office has received multiple credible reports that hundreds of Rohingya fleeing violence are being prevented from entering Bangladesh," Turk said.

"I appeal to all member states to ensure international refugee protection to people fleeing persecution and conflict in Myanmar."

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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