United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres denounced Myanmar for creating a humanitarian "nightmare" for the country's Rohingya Muslims, calling on the government of Aung San Suu Kyi to "halt" military operations and allow "unfettered access" for humanitarian aid in the Southeast Asian country's conflict-wracked western region.
"The situation has spiraled into the world's fastest developing refugee emergency, a humanitarian and human rights nightmare," Guterres said in a speech to the UN Security Council on Thursday.
His comments came as more than 500,000 Rohingya refugees have crossed into the neighboring Bangladesh in recent weeks, creating an unprecedented humanitarian crisis as aid agencies struggle to provide food, clean water and shelter.
Many of those who have managed to take refuge in Bangladesh said Myanmar's soldiers and Buddhist mobs have been attacking civilians and burning down their homes.
Myanmar's troops intensified attacks against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state, home to over a million members of the desperate minority, since October 2016. The attacks have seen a sharp rise since August.
The latest bout of violence in Rakhine has killed more than 1,000 people, according to the UN.
The UN received "bone-chilling accounts" of refugees being subject to "excessive violence and serious violations of human rights, including indiscriminate firing of weapons, the use of landmines against civilians and [...] violence," Guterres further told the public session of the council, adding, "This is unacceptable and must end immediately."
The volatile Rakhine state has been the scene of communal violence since 2012.
Many of the Muslims have lost their lives while tens of thousands have been displaced as a result of attacks by Buddhists.
The refugees largely live in camps in dire conditions.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team