Hollywood superstar Angelina Jolie on Tuesday urged Myanmar to end the cycle of violence, displacement, and improve conditions for all communities, including the Rohingyas, in the restive Rakhine State.
Jolie, special envoy of the United Nations Agency for Refugees (UNHCR), had visited the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh's Kutupalang on Tuesday, as well as on Monday, to meet members of the persecuted, mostly-Muslim minority community, who fled Myanmar in 2017 after a military offensive.
"I urge the Myanmar authorities to show the genuine commitment needed to end the cycle of violence and displacement and improve the conditions for all communities in Rakhine State, in line with the recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Commission, and working together with UNHCR and others," said Jolie, reading out from a statement at the camp.
"A test and measure of any government is how they treat the most vulnerable people in society, and how they treat those who stand up for the vulnerable and speak out for the atrocities committed against them," she said, adding that the perpetrators of the violence must be held accountable for their actions.
Jolie is in Bangladesh on a three-day visit to assess the humanitarian needs of the Rohingyas, ahead of the launch of a UN appeal for $920 million in assistance.
"It was deeply upsetting to meet the families who have only known persecution and statelessness their whole lives, who speak of being 'treated like cattle'," the 43-year-old actor said after listening to the stories of the Rohingyas.
"I met a woman yesterday, a survivor of rape in Myanmar and she told me, 'You would have to shoot me where I stand before I go back without my rights'," said Jolie.
She added that the responsibility to ensure those rights, "lies squarely with the government and the authorities in Myanmar."
More than 738,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar's Rakhine since August 25, 2017, when the Myanmar military had launched a military offensive, in response to attacks by Rohingya rebels on government posts in the region.
The offensive has been globally condemned for its human rights abuses and the UN described it as an attempt at "ethnic cleansing".
A majority of the Rohingyas - more than 620,000 people - live in just one area: Kutupalong, the largest refugee settlement in the world today.
Jolie will also meet Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina and foreign minister AK Abdul Momen and other senior officials during her visit.
This is her first visit to Bangladesh but she had met with displaced Rohingyas during a prior visit to Myanmar in Jul. 2015 and in India in 2006.