Ethnic cleansing of Rohingya continues

09 March, 2018, 09:47 | Author: Marjorie Miles
  • Rohingya refugees

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.

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

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

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".

The two applicants earlier filed a petition demanding that Rohingya refugees who had entered India following the crackdown in Rakhine should not be deported.

Myanmar's military has denied committing any abuses outside one incident in the Rakhine village of Inn Din, where it said security forces assisted with the killing of 10 unarmed Rohingya.

The foreign ministry "summoned" Myanmar's envoy and conveyed the country's "concerns" over the "military build-up" amid rising tensions following the influx of almost 700,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.

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The UN has formerly floated the idea that the atrocities constitute ethnic cleansing.

The hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees are now living in the two upazilas of Cox's Bazar, and have joined the Rohingyas who had been living in Cox's Bazar district for years.

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

Earlier this year in February, the Centre had responded to a plea which alleged that Rohingya refugees who wanted to enter India after fleeing persecution in Myanmar were being "pushed back" at the border by the BSF in violation of the United Nations principle of non-refoulement. "There are about 40 elephants in the area and they move between Bangladesh and Myanmar in search of food", the Geneva-based agency said in a statement. Authorities had received information that "terrorists" linked to the August attacks on Myanmar's security posts were sheltering there, he added.

Zaw Htay said he believed the people were staying on the border to "trap" Myanmar into conducting a "clearance operation", which he said media and the United Nations would label as ethnic cleansing.

"Troop movements so close to them are making things even worse", said Major Iqbal Ahmed of Bangladesh's border guard.



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