New Straits Times

UN: Ethnic cleansing of Rohingya continues


YANGON: Myanmar is continuing its “ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya with a “campaign of terror and forced starvation” in Rakhine State, a United Nations human rights envoy said yesterday, six months after a military crackdown sparked a mass exodus of the Muslim minority.

Some 700,000 Rohingya have fled over the border to Bangladesh since violence erupted in August, taking with them horrifying testimony of murder, rape and arson.

While the majority of those refugees fled Myanmar last year, Rohingya continued to stream across the border by the hundreds every week.

“The ethnic cleansing of Rohingya from Myanmar continues. I don’t think we can draw any other conclusion from what I have seen and heard in Cox’s Bazar,” UN Assistant SecretaryG­eneral for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour said after visiting newly-arrived Rohingya in Bangladesh refugee camps.

“The nature of the violence has changed from the frenzied bloodletti­ng and mass rape of last year, to a lower intensity campaign of terror and forced starvation that seems to be designed to drive the remaining Rohingya from their homes and into Bangladesh,” he said, adding that new arrivals were from interior Rakhine towns further from the border.

His statement also said it was “inconceiva­ble” that any Rohingya would be able to return to Myanmar in the near future.

“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.

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