Tillerson asks Myanmar leaders to probe attacks on Rohingyas
Nay Pyi Taw: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Myanmar on Wednesday and called for an investigation into "credible reports of widespread atrocities" by the countrys security forces against Rohingya Muslims.
During a five-hour visit to Myanmar, Tillerson met the country's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and military commander Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the New York Times reported.
He urged both to investigate and halt the violence that has driven more than 615,000 Rohingyas to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh since late August. Less than one-third of the 1.1 million Rohingyas who lived in Myanmar last year are thought to remain in the country.
Tillerson called the situation "horrific" and at a news conference said that there had been "crimes against humanity". And while Tillerson said he advised against "broad-based economic sanctions" against Myanmar, he said targeted sanctions against individuals might be
Members of the mostly stateless Muslim minority are still flooding into Bangladesh from Myanmar's Rakhine state. They bring with them accounts of villages burned to the ground, women raped and children flung into fires. The accounts have been borne out by human rights investigators and, in the case of the villages, satellite evidence.
"The key test of any democracy is how it treats its most vulnerable and marginalised populations," Tillerson said in Nay Pyi Taw.
"It is the responsibility of the government and the security forces to protect and respect the human rights of all persons within its borders and to hold accountable those who fail to do so."
"The US would continue to support Myanmar's transition to democracy," he said, adding: "We want to see Myanmar succeed... I have a hard time seeing how (sanctions) helps resolve this crisis."
Suu Kyi is accused of ignoring the plight of the Rohingyas and international pressure has been mounting for months on her to condemn the Army's alleged brutality and what the UN described as "textbook example of ethnic cleansing".
She earlier defended Myanmar's security forces, saying that there should be an investigation into what caused the Rohingya crisis.