WASHINGTON: The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has urged the Burmese government to take immediate steps to end the persecution of Rohingya Muslims.

In a letter to Myanmar’s President Thein Sein, the committee’s chairman Robert Menendez expressed deep concern over the worsening humanitarian crisis affecting Rohingyas.

“I urgently request that your government take immediate steps to end the persecution of the Rohingya, ensure the security of international aid groups and facilitate their immediate access to Rakhine state,” he wrote.

The committee noted that recently the United States and Myanmar had made progress in building ties and cooperation between the two countries, yet several critical human rights and humanitarian concerns threatened to impede further progress, with the situation in Rakhine State and Buddhist-Muslim communal violence highest among them.

Senator Menendez reminded the Burmese leader that the Rohingyas were facing horrific attacks, including massacres, destruction of their villages through arson, and confinement in squalid camps that essentially function as detention facilities.

He also noted that more than 140,000 Rohingyas were now internally displaced persons because of violent attacks on their villages and communal violence between Buddhist and Muslim communities, which continued unabated.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2014

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