Statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs on the crisis in Rakhine State, Myanmar

At the initiative of Sweden and the United Kingdom, on 13 September the United Nations Security Council held an extraordinary meeting on the crisis in Rakhine State in Myanmar. The situation has deteriorated further in recent weeks, with almost 400 000 people being forced to flee to Bangladesh. According to UNICEF, 80 per cent of those people are women and children.

I am horrified by the continued violence and the reports of abuses and violations of human rights. Accounts of the disproportionate and excessive use of violence by the military and security forces are deeply troubling. This must stop. Humanitarian support must be allowed to reach those in need of protection and assistance. As is always the case in crises and conflicts, women and children are among those suffering most.

Thorough, independent investigations of the abuses and violations of human rights must be allowed, and those responsible must be held to account. The fact-finding mission appointed by the UN Human Rights Council must be given access to the area and allowed to meet the people affected.

Bringing about a long-term solution to the conflict means tackling its root causes. The Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, led by Kofi Annan, has presented important recommendations. The government of Myanmar should immediately implement these recommendations, and Sweden stands ready to support Myanmar to this end.

I welcome the leadership of the UN Secretary-General and his letter to the members of the Security Council of 2 September, urging active endeavours to prevent further suffering in Rakhine and increased efforts to prevent further escalation of the crisis. Sweden today contributed to the Security Council condemning the violence in Rakhine that has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee, calling for an immediate de-escalation of the violence, and emphasising the importance of humanitarian assistance reaching the entire population without discrimination. Sweden will continue to work to ensure that the Security Council remains abreast of developments in Rakhine.