UN says Myanmar violence is textbook ethnic cleansing

AFP
The situation in Myanmar is a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” the United Nations said, as the number of Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar for Bangladesh topped 300,000.
AFP
Reuters

A Rohingya refugee pulls a child along as they walk to shore after crossing the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh by boat through the Bay of Bengal on Sunday.

The situation in Myanmar is a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” the United Nations said yesterday, as the number of Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar for Bangladesh topped 300,000.

The Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority, have faced decades of persecution in Myanmar.

But since the latest upsurge in violence, hundreds of thousands have flooded across the border into Bangladesh bringing stories of entire villages burned to the ground by Buddhist mobs and Myanmar troops.

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein accused Myanmar of waging a “systematic attack” on the Rohingya and warned that “ethnic cleansing” seemed to be under way.

“Because Myanmar has refused access to human rights investigators the current situation cannot yet be fully assessed, but the situation seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” he told the UN Human Rights Council.

Myanmar’s de facto civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has come in for strong international criticism over the military crackdown on the Rohingya, which began when militants ambushed security forces on August 25.

The UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar has said the latest violence may have left more than 1,000 dead, most of them Rohingya.

A further 27,000 ethnic Rakhine Buddhists as well as Hindus have also fled violence that has gripped northern Rakhine, where international aid programs in Rakhine have been severely curtailed.

The UN refugee agency says at least 313,000 Rohingya have now arrived in Bangladesh from Myanmar’s Rakhine state since August 25, around a third of the total population of 1.1 million.

Dhaka initially stepped up border controls after the violence, stranding thousands of refugees at the Bangladeshi frontier, but in the past week has been allowing them to enter.

Refugee camps and makeshift settlements near the border are now completely overwhelmed.

That has left tens of thousands of new arrivals with nowhere to shelter from the monsoon rains.

Most have walked for days and the UN says many are sick, exhausted and in desperate need of shelter, food and water.

Zeid said he was “appalled” by reports that Myanmar security forces were laying mines near the border. Three Rohingya are reported to have been killed by a mine, and at least two more have lost limbs. One of the victims was a young boy.

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