Myanmar's 'ethnic cleansing' of Rohingya 'continues'

Myanmar's ethnic cleansing of Rohingya continues: UN human rights official

A United Nations (UN) official says the "ethnic cleansing" of the Rohingya Muslim community is continuing in Myanmar, despite denials by the government in Naypyidaw of any violence against the minority Muslims.

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour [official bio] on Tuesday said [press release] that the "ethnic cleansing of Rohingya from Myanmar continues", after a four-day visit to Bangladesh.

The "frenzied" scale of unspeakable violence against the minority Muslim Rohingya community in Myanmar has shifted to a "lower intensity campaign of terror and forced starvation", seemingly meant to drive the remaining Rohingyas from their homeland, a senior United Nations human rights official has warned.

Refugees living in camps in southeastern Bangladesh have also resisted the idea, fearing they will not be safe if they return to Rakhine.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for two Rohingya refugees who are in camps in India, had argued that the BSF had adopted a policy called "non-engagement" to prevent the influx of more refugees from Myanmar.

Nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled military operations to Bangladesh, bringing with them tales of killings, rape, and arson by Myanmar security forces.

Myanmar's military on Wednesday denied "one-sided accusations" made by British lawmakers in a letter to the EU Foreign Affairs Council recently detailing major human rights abuses against minority Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State.

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The office is monitoring developments after several thousand people living in a makeshift camp "were reportedly ordered to vacate the area by the Myanmar authorities", the agency said.

"It appears that widespread and systematic violence against the Rohingya persists", Gilmour said.

Bangladesh and Myanmar authorities had held talks over repatriating refugees in the coming months, but a build up of Myanmar military on the border last week sparked concern.

"We don't want India to become the refugee capital of the world", he said, adding that efforts were on at the diplomatic level to resolve the crisis.

"These people have fled violence at home and must be able to seek asylum in Bangladesh if they feel unsafe where they are", she said. "The first reason is that Burma will only take a few and secondly is that the refugees will never return if they fear persecution", he added, using another name for Myanmar. Myanmar's Buddhist majority is often accused of subjecting them to discrimination and violence.

On Sept. 2, Buddhist villagers and Myanmar troops killed 10 Rohingya men in Myanmar's restive Rakhine state. During the reporting of this article, two Reuters journalists were arrested by Myanmar police.

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