Russia and China Just Prevented UN Statement on Massacre of Rohingya Muslims by Burmese Army

Diplomats said Friday, March 17 that Russia and China have prevented the UN Security Council from issuing a statement expressing concern about the situation in Rakhine State in Burma, where Rohingya Muslims are subjected to atrocities in violation of basic human rights.

During the last four months the Burmese army has been conducting a military campaign against the Muslim minority in the state, located in the west of the country. UN investigators are saying the campaign has reached the level of "etnic cleansing" and crimes against humanity.

The British ambassador to the United Nations Matthew Rycroft told reporters that "no consensus has been reached" on a statement he described as "the strict minimum".

Diplomats said China and Russia had objections about the text of the UN statement, but the missions in the two countries in the international organization have not replied to contacts from AFP news agency.

The text put forward by Britain, "notes with concern the resumption of fighting in some areas of the country, and underlines the importance of opening humanitarian corridors in all areas."

The British ambassador, whose country presides the UN Security Council this month, added "We support the peace process and we are the largest humanitarian donor to Burma, including the state of Rakhine."

This UN security council statement could lead to other UN initiatives about Burma, and therefore China and Russia wanted to send a clear message about their desire not to include Burma on the security council's agenda.

Burma is facing mounting international criticism over its handling of the Rohingya's muslims. This population estimated to be around 1.1 million people is considered by the Buddhist majority (that make up ninety percent of the country's population) to be illegal immigrants who came from Bangladesh.

The Rohingya Muslims are suffering from discrimination, extortion, restrictions on freedom of movement and inability to access health care and education.