The request by France, Britain, the US, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Senegal and Sweden comes after fresh violence erupts in Myanmar's Rakhine state with 20 homes catching fire and a bomb blast near a mosque.

Rohingya refugees receive aid in Coxs Bazar, Bangladesh, September 20, 2017.
Rohingya refugees receive aid in Coxs Bazar, Bangladesh, September 20, 2017. (Reuters)

France, Britain, the United States and four other countries on Friday asked the UN Security Council to meet next week to discuss the ongoing violence in Myanmar that has seen hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims flee in under a month.      

The call for the meeting comes after fresh violence erupted in Myanmar's Rakhine state with 20 homes catching fire and a bomb blast near a mosque.  

The seven countries including Egypt, Kazakhstan, Senegal and Sweden want UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to brief the council on Myanmar’s military campaign against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.

The Ethiopian presidency of the council said it was holding consultations to set a time for the meeting.

The UN says more than 420,000 Rohingya have fled for safety to Bangladesh in the face of the army campaign in Rakhine that includes rape and the burning of villages.

The military operation was sparked by attacks carried out by Rohingya fighters on police posts on August 25.

Violence continues

Twenty homes caught fire and a bomb was detonated near a mosque in Rakhine state, the government said on Friday.

The violence comes days after Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi declared that the military had ceased its “clearance operations” in the border area.

"Security members went and checked the fire and are investigating its cause," said the statement, adding that the flames burned through a community previously hit by fire.

The following morning a bomb detonated outside of a mosque in Mi Chaung Zay village in nearby Buthidaung township, according to the government.

The statement said "terrorists" were to blame for the blast.

No deaths or injuries were reported in either incident. 

Myanmar's government admits that scores of villages have been burned down over the past month.

But it has previously accused Rohingya fighters of setting the fires and driving the communal violence.

"Ethnic cleansing"

The Security Council has met twice behind closed doors since the Rohingya crisis began and last week issued an informal statement to the press condemning the situation and urging Myanmar authorities to end the violence.

But rights organisations have said the exodus has continued, fueling international outrage.

The UN has described the military operation as “ethnic cleansing” and French President Emmanuel Macron went further, describing it as “genocide.”

Diplomats say the Security Council could consider adopting a formal statement if the situation does not improve.     

But China and Russia are unlikely to agree to stronger action that would require the adoption of a resolution they could veto.

A UN Security Council resolution would need nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, Britain and France.

Myanmar said earlier this month it was negotiating with veto powers China and Russia to ensure Myanmar would be protected from any Security Council action. 

No access to independent media

Myanmar's government has blocked independent media access to the conflict zone in northern Rakhine, making it difficult to verify the swirl of claims and counterclaims. 

Suu Kyi, who lacks control over the army in a delicate power-sharing agreement, broke her silence on the crisis Tuesday in a televised address pitched to an international community baffled by her failure to speak up for the Rohingya.

The Muslim minority is denied citizenship by the state and has been the target of festering Islamaophobia in mainly Buddhist Myanmar for years. 

The Nobel laureate expressed sympathy for the "suffering of all people" swept up in the violence. 

But she also tried to paint a glass-half-full picture of the situation in Rakhine, announcing that "more than 50 percent of the villages of Muslims are intact."

Source: AFP