Myanmar faces 'defining moment', must stop the violence

Myanmar nationals in Japan protest against UN over Rakhine conflict

Worldwide pressure on Myanmar heightened this week after United Nations rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said the violence seemed to be a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing". It's been characterized by many as ethnic cleansing. A week ago that figure stood at 270,000.

A crackdown by Myanmar's army, launched in response to attacks by Rohingya militants on August 25, has sent almost 400,000 refugees from the stateless Muslim minority fleeing into neighboring Bangladesh.

A top U.S. lawmaker defended Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday, saying Myanmar's under-fire leader had assured him she is working to get aid to Rohingya Muslims suffering a violent military crackdown. And so we appreciate the hard and complex situation Aung San Suu Kyi finds herself in. And this is going to, in many ways, I think, define the direction that Burma will take.

Suu Kyi, who is the de facto head of government in the nation also known as Burma, said it was important that violations of human rights be addressed, the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor.

"Violence in Myanmar has created a humanitarian catastrophe".

UNICEF said on Thursday that about 400,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar since August 25, some 60 percent of them children.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Wednesday called on Myanmar to halt military action and atrocities against the Rohingya in Rakhine state, saying the ongoing violence by security forces against the Muslim minority was "completely unacceptable and catastrophic".

"I call on the Myanmar authorities to suspend military action, end the violence, uphold the rule of law, and recognize the right of return of all those who had to leave the country", the Secretary-General said in his first press conference since the opening of the 72nd session of the General Assembly.

Activists say more than 100 villagers, women and children among them, have been killed by security forces.

Tens of thousands of refugees are trapped on the border into Bangladesh without basic food and medicine amid operations by the Myanmar military, which have already killed hundreds.

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