The head of the UN has called on Myanmar to take responsibility for hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslim refugees and work towards their safe return to the country from Bangladesh.
A wave of refugees began fleeing Myanmar in late August after its response to an attack by Rohingya militants on more than 20 police posts that the government said left 12 members of the security forces dead.
Amnesty International said security forces then went on to carry out a “targeted campaign of widespread and systematic murder, rape and burning”, which has been described by some as widespread ethnic cleansing.
More than 600,000 people fled the violence, bringing the total number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh to around 900,000.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was speaking at a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and said Myanmar should deal with the root causes of why so many Rohingya people fled the country.
Mr Guterres said that he is “deeply concerned about the situation in Myanmar, including Rakhine [where the refugees have fled from] state, and the plight of the massive number of refugees still living increasingly in difficult conditions”.
He added: “It remains, of course, Myanmar’s responsibility to address the root causes and ensure a conducive environment for the safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable repatriation of refugees to Rakhine state, in accordance with international norms and standards.”