UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on the government of Myanmar Tuesday to grant [ nationality, or at least legal status, to the Rohingya Muslim minority group that resides in the Rakhine State of Myanmar. Myanmar’s security forces have responded to recent violence from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army with indiscriminate attacks in the Rakhine State. Guterres stated that the granting of nationality was necessary to allow the members of the minority group to live a normal life, “including freedom of movement and access to labour markets, education and health services.” More than 125,000 people have now sought refuge in neighboring Bangladesh. Guterres stated that the plight of the Rohingya is becoming an “undeniable factor in the regional destabilization of the region.”
The plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar has been on ongoing humanitarian crisis for many years. The UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution in March that called for an investigation into the potential human rights violations in Myanmar. Earlier in March, the UN Special Rapporteur called for an international investigation into the crimes against humanity allegedly committed by the Myanmar government against the Rohingya minority population. In February, the UN Special Rapporteur called for Myanmar to end the persecution of the Rohingya minority. Also in February, Myanmar officials stated that they would investigated alleged police crimes against Rohingya Muslims. Furthermore, earlier in February, the Human Rights Watch endorsed an investigation into the abuses against the Rohingya population, specifically the sexual abuses against women.