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Aid groups urge UN rights council session on Rohingya crisis

© AFP | More than 600,000 Rohingya are languishing in Bangladeshi refugee camps after fleeing a brutal Myanmar army campaign launched in late August


Amnesty International and 34 other humanitarian groups on Monday called for the UN Human Rights Council to hold a special session on the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.

We "strongly support calls for a UN Human Rights Council special session on the deteriorating human rights situation in Myanmar and urge your delegations to support holding such a session as soon as possible", an open letter addressed to the council said.

"In light of serious reports of human rights violations... we believe that a special session is imperative to launch decisive action and ensure international scrutiny and monitoring of the situation."

The groups said the council should adopt a resolution that would call on the Myanmar government to "immediately cease all human rights violations, including crimes against humanity" and allow human rights groups "full and unfettered access to all parts of the country".

The 47-member council rarely convenes for a special session. In all, the UN group has held 26 since its inception in 2006.

A special session may be held at the request of at least a third of the member states, or 16 countries.

Earlier this month the UN Security Council dropped plans to adopt a resolution demanding an end to the violence in Myanmar in the face of strong opposition from China.

More than 600,000 Rohingya are languishing in Bangladeshi refugee camps after fleeing a brutal Myanmar army campaign launched in late August.

There have given chilling and consistent accounts of widespread murder, rape and arson at the hands of security forces.

The UN has said the scorched-earth operation, which has left hundreds of villages burned to ash in northern Rakhine state, amounts to ethnic cleansing.

Leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi has faced intense criticism outside Myanmar for her perceived failure to speak up for the Rohingya.

On Monday, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini joined a stream of diplomats to meet Suu Kyi in recent days as efforts intensify in hopes of resolving the crisis.

© 2017 AFP