Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas in Myanmar continues

Envoy says nature of violence changed from frenzied blood-letting mass rape to terror campaign forced starvation Envoy says nature of violence changed from frenzied blood-letting mass rape to terror campaign forced starvation
Glenn Montgomery | 09 March, 2018, 09:47

Some 7,00,000 people have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since August, BBC reported.

"The ethnic cleansing of Rohingya from Myanmar continues", said the UN's assistant secretary-general for human rights, Andrew Gilmour.

The repatriation deal signed between Myanmar and Bangladesh in November would likely fail despite his government's official stance that the refugees must eventually go back, he continued.

"It appears that widespread and systematic violence against the Rohingya persists, " Gilmour said after visiting refugee camps in Bangladesh.

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.

According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), a number of refugees told Mr Gilmour that Rohingyas who try to leave their villages or even their homes "are taken away and never return".

Bangladesh insists the repatriation process will go ahead, last month submitting to Myanmar the names of 8,000 refugees expected to return to Rakhine state.

The Bangladesh government's Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC) has stated that almost 700,000 Rohingyas entered Bangladesh from August 25, 2017 until March 6, 2018.

"The Government of Myanmar is busy telling the world that it is ready to receive Rohingya returnees, while at the same time its forces are continuing to drive them into Bangladesh", Gilmour said.

After Rohingya insurgents attacked 30 police posts and an army base on August 25, Myanmar soldiers and police swept through villages in what the government says was a legitimate operation to root out "terrorists".

"Fleeing Rohingya told us how they are still being forcibly starved in a bid to quietly squeeze them out of the country", he said.

Rights groups and the United Nations have warned that conditions for their return are not close to being in place.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has estimated that at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in the first month of the crackdown alone.

"The conversation now must focus on stopping the violence in Rakhine state, ensuring accountability for the perpetrators, and the need for Myanmar to create conditions for return", said Gilmour.

Myanmar's civilian government, led by former democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, lacks control over the military but has been castigated by rights groups for failing to speak out in defence of the Rohingya.

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