SA calls on Myanmar to address situation of displaced citizens

The South African government has urged Myanmar to address the current situation in Rakhine State, where violence has seen about 300 000 Rohingya civilians fleeing their homes.

This follows reports of civilians being killed during security operations in Myanmar's Rakhine State. This latest round of violence came after the attacks on Myanmar security forces on Friday by Rohingyas, a Muslim ethnic minority denied citizenship in Myanmar.

According to UN figures, as of Sunday, 313 000 Rohingyas, mostly women and children, have left Rakhine for Bangladesh since 25 August.

The Myanmar government regards Rohingyas, Muslims living in a Buddhist nation, as illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh.

The South African government on Wednesday said it supports the statement of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who emphasised the responsibility of the government of Myanmar to provide security to affected populations, and requested for humanitarian agencies to be granted access to affected communities in need of assistance and protection.

In a statement, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) urged all parties to halt the violence in order to avoid further human suffering. 

“In particular, the South African government appeals to the government of Myanmar to address the current situation in Rakhine State within the ambit of the law, upholding the rights of all those living within its borders.”

Dirco said South Africa is mindful of the manifold challenges confronting the government and the people of Myanmar. – SAnews.gov.za