Published: Fri, March 09, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

UN says 'ethnic cleansing' of Myanmar's Rohingya is continuing

UN says 'ethnic cleansing' of Myanmar's Rohingya is continuing

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

Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour, who has just visited Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, made the conclusion, said the United Nations spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.

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.

"The nature of the violence has changed from the frenzied bloodletting and mass rape of previous year to a lower-intensity campaign of terror and forced starvation that seems to be created to drive the remaining Rohingya from their homes and into Bangladesh", he said in a statement, adding that new arrivals are travelling from towns in Rakhine's interior further from the border.

Gilmour spoke to refugees who recounted abductions by security forces and at least one apparent death of a Rohingya man in custody in February, the statement said.

"Safe, dignified, and sustainable returns are of course impossible under current conditions".

Myanmar and Bangladesh have announced provisional plans for the Rohingya - a mostly Muslim ethnic group - to return home to Myanmar's northern Rakhine state.

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17, 2017, a Bangladeshi health worker injects vaccine to a Rohingya Muslim boy, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, at Balukhali refugee camp, Bangladesh.

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.

Myanmar's military has largely closed off the north of Rakhine state to journalists, diplomats and most aid organisations apart from brief chaperoned trips.

James Gomez, Amnesty International's director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said the UN's new findings "sadly echo our own".

"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.

An estimated 6,700 Rohingya Muslims were killed by security forces joined by Buddhist mobs in the first month of the crackdown alone, according to Doctors without Borders.

Abductions of Rohingya girls and women by Burmese security forces was a "recurring theme" said the OHCHR, corroborating accounts of sexual violence and killings provided to other United Nations agencies and non-profit organisations including Human Rights Watch. "We've asked Myanmar for humanitarian access in order to help people like them and others affected by the recent violence".

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