The Pope has severely criticized the atrocities against Myanmar’s minority Rohingya Muslims, saying they have been tortured and killed “simply because they want to live their culture and their Muslim faith.”

Pope Francis issued a statement on Wednesday in defense of the Rohingya Muslims after last week’s UN report that said security forces in the north of the country had conducted mass killings, gang rapes and had burned villages.

A UN spokesman also expressed great concerns over a report on the sexual abuse of the Rohingya Muslim ethnic minority in Myanmar by security forces.

The group has recently released a report which says the border guard police raped, gang raped, and carried out invasive body searches on Rohingyas last year, during operations in western Rakhine state.

The UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, said the scope of violence against the persecuted minority was revolting and unacceptable.

Saying that the government in Myanmar was responsible to ensure the Rohingyas’ security, adding, “This must stop right now!”

“If people are being persecuted based on their identity and killed, tortured, raped and forcibly transferred in a widespread or systematic manner, this could amount to crimes against humanity, and in fact be the precursor of other egregious international crimes.”