ASEAN draft statement skips over Rohingya crisis in Myanmar

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Since Aug. 25 more than 617,000 Rohingya refugees have arrived in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, fleeing violence in Myanmar, Millman said.

Accusations of organised mass rape and other crimes against humanity were leveled at the Myanmar military on Sunday by another senior United Nations official, who had toured camps in Bangladesh where Rohingya refugees have taken shelter.

One paragraph of the communique, seen by Reuters on Monday, mentions the importance of humanitarian relief provided for victims of natural disasters in Vietnam and a recent urban battle with Islamist militants in the Philippines, as well as "affected communities" in northern Rakhine state.

The Myanmar military and government have denied accusations that security personnel burned Rohingya villages and indiscriminately killed, tortured, and raped residents, despite testimony to the contrary by survivors and satellite imagery of the ravaged communities.

"The Myanmar military has made clear it has no intention of ensuring accountability; it's now up to the worldwide community to step up to ensure these appalling abuses do not go unpunished".

No reason was given why Major General Maung Maung Soe was transferred from his post as the head of Western Command in Rakhine, where Myanmar's military, known as the Tatmadaw, launched a sweeping counter-insurgency operation in August.

"We have our population list with data and documents from immigration and administrative departments", he said.

"We remain gravely concerned by continuing reports of violence and human rights abuses committed by Burmese security forces and vigilantes".

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"She has said what she will do, and ASEAN must make comments on Myanmar only after waiting and seeing what she does", he said.

The terms of the military's probe were exceptionally narrow.

Nor were there any killings or beating of villagers, and the security forces did not carry out any looting or set fire to Rohingya mosques, it said. Separately on the margins of the ASEAN summit here, the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also met Suu Kyi and discussed the humanitarian crisis in the Rakhine state.

Aung San Suu Kyi later met Tillerson briefly, though the two will have a one-on-one conversation on Wednesday in Naypyidaw to discuss the situation in northern Rakhine and the restoration of peace and stability.

With US senators back in Washington pressing to impose economic sanctions and travel restrictions targeting the military and its business interests, Tillerson is expected to deliver a stern message to Myanmar's generals, while supporting the transition to democracy.

Amnesty International also dismissed the military's internal investigation and called for a United Nations fact-finding mission and for other independent investigators to be given full access to Rakhine.

In his meeting with Myanmar's State Counselor, the UN Secretary-General highlighted the need for allowing the return of displaced Muslims who have fled to neighboring Bangladesh.

"Secretary Tillerson's visit must be used to recognize the tragedy for what it is, ethnic cleansing, and to pressure the Myanmar government and in particular Myanmar's military to address the crimes against humanity that are taking place", said Eric Schwartz, president of Refugees International, in a statement.

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