U.N. Security Council pushes Myanmar on accountability over Rohingya.

 The United Nations Security Council urged Myanmar’s government on Wednesday to carry out transparent investigations into accusations of violence against mainly Rohingya Muslims in the country’s Rakhine state and to allow immediate aid access to the region.

“The members of the Security Council in light of the importance of undertaking transparent investigations into allegations of human rights abuses and violations, urge the government ofMyanmar to fulfill, based on respect for the rule of law, its stated commitment to holding accountable perpetrators of violence, including sexual violence and abuse and violence against children,” the council statement said.

The statement said they “were struck by the scale of the humanitarian crisis and remain gravely concerned by the current situation.” They also noted the “widespread destruction of villages” in Rakhine.

The council urged Myanmar to conclude an agreement “in the coming days” with the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR and U.N. Development Programme on aid access in Rakhine and help with repatriating refugees from Bangladesh.

The Security Council also said it intends to discuss how it can work with Bangladesh, Myanmarand the United Nations “to resolve the crisis and create the conditions allowing the safe, voluntary, and dignified repatriation of refugees to their homes in Rakhine State.”

The move follows a visit by Council envoys to Bangladesh and Myanmar last week to see firsthand the aftermath of a Myanmar military crackdown that Britain, the United States and others have denounced as ethnic cleansing of the minority Rohingya. Myanmar denies ethnic cleansing.

Fleeing refugees have reported killings, rapes and arson on a large scale. Myanmar has said its operations in Rakhine were a legitimate response to attacks on security forces by Rohingya insurgents.

Rohingya insurgent attacks on security posts in Rakhine in August last year sparked a military operation that has sent nearly 700,000 Rohingya fleeing to refugee camps in Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh. Security Council envoys visited those vast camps last week.