US condemns the violence not Myanmar government
We would condemn violence at all levels and it couldn't be stronger than that, State Department Spokesperson says
By Safvan Allahverdi
The U.S. State Department, Wednesday denounced the violence against Rohingya civilians in the Rakhine State, however did not directly condemn the government of Myanmar.
"We have certainly seen the repeated human rights abuses and violations by security forces and civilians as well. They have been disturbing," Spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters at a press briefing. "We are upset by what is taking place."
Nauert said that the U.S. government had lots of conversations with the Myanmar government that will continue to be ongoing, adding that the U.S. will continue to watch the situation "extremely closely."
In response to a question about whether the State Department considers what has happened in the region as genocide, Nauert said: "I am not going to characterize it that way. We are having many discussions at many levels with the government. So I am not going to go out and try to get ahead of some of those private diplomatic conversations."
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”.
When asked why the U.S. government hasn't condemned the government of Myanmar yet, Nauert said there are reports of extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, the burning Rohingya villages by security forces and also non-Rohingya civilians and her department has condemned the violence at all levels and it couldn't be stronger than that.
Since Aug. 25, more than 370,000 Rohingya have escaped from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN.
The refugees are fleeing a fresh security operation in which military forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages. According to Bangladesh, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.