ibusinesslines.com March 24, 2018

'Acts of genocide' suspected against Rohingya in Myanmar

07 March 2018, 03:26 | Melissa Porter

Myanmar's 'ethnic cleansing' of Rohingya continues, says UN official


Refugee camps have shot up in Bangladesh's border area of Cox's Bazar, including Kutupalong which is now the largest refugee camp in the world.

A United Nations human rights envoy said Tuesday that Myanmar was continuing its "ethnic cleansing" of the Rohingya with a "campaign of terror and forced starvation" in Rakhine state. There, they have been recounting the horrific violence they were exposed to back in Rakhine, which the government has blockaded.

Zeid noted that his office said on Tuesday that it believes ethnic cleansing is still underway in Rakhine.

Andrew Gilmour, UN assistant secretary-general for human rights, made the remarks in a statement after speaking to newly arrived Rohingya in Bangladesh's refugee camps on his four-day visit to Cox's Bazar district.

Hundreds of Rohingya villages were torched, and recent satellite imagery showed at least 55 villages have since been completely bulldozed, removing all traces of buildings, wells and vegetation.

He said the Centre and Tamil Nadu had reached an understanding that Sri Lankan refugees would "have access to at least education and healthcare, which Rohingya refugees are being denied".

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says the same refugees face a continuing threat from wild elephants who range the region.

"It appears that widespread and systematic violence against the Rohingya persists", said Gilmour, stating that the violence had now shifted from "the frenzied blood-letting and mass rape of past 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".

Almost 700,000 Rohingya have fled Rakhine into Bangladesh since insurgent attacks sparked a security crackdown in August, joining 200,000 refugees from a previous exodus.

Despite Myanmar saying it was ready to accept back refugees under an pact signed with Bangladesh in November, he added, "Safe, dignified and sustainable returns are, of course, impossible under current conditions".

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.

Myanmar's military claims its crackdown on Rohingya villages is aimed at eradicating "terrorists", who allegedly attacked border police posts in August 2017.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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