Myanmar: UN: 310,000 Rohingya Muslims flee, textbook example of ethnic cleansing


By Bayram Altug


GENEVA (AA): More than 310,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since Aug. 25, a UN spokesperson said Monday.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency in Geneva, Duniya Aslam Khan, a spokeswoman for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), said the number of Rohingya Muslims who had crossed the border from Myanmar into Bangladesh had reached 313,000.

Earlier Monday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein urged the Myanmar government to end the “brutal security operation” in Muslim-populated areas.

He said Myanmar’s security operation in Rakhine state “seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

“I call on the government to end its current cruel military operation, with accountability for all violations that have occurred, and to reverse the pattern of severe and widespread discrimination against the Rohingya population,” Hussein said. “The situation seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

The German government has called on Myanmar to meet its responsibilities to end the humanitarian tragedy faced by the country’s Muslim minority.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, voiced great concern about the recent violence and human rights violations during at a press conference in Berlin on Monday.

“We are calling on the government of Myanmar to meet its responsibilities for all population groups of the country,” he said.

“And we are particularly expecting this from Nobel Peace Prize laureate and State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi,” he added.

Seibert renewed Berlin’s call for all parties to the conflict to take steps toward a peaceful solution.

In Washington, the U.S. said it is “deeply troubled by the ongoing crisis”, reiterating an earlier condemnation of the Aug. 25 attack on a Myanmarese security post “and ensuing violence.â

“The massive displacement and victimization of people, including large numbers of the ethnic Rohingya community and other minorities, shows that Burmese security forces are not protecting civilians,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

“We call on Burmese security authorities to respect the rule of law, stop the violence and end the displacement of civilians from all communities. We also urge Burmese security forces to work with the elected government in implementing the Rakhine Commission’s recommendations,” she added.

Sanders further lauded Bangladesh’s efforts “to facilitate humanitarian assistance”.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

Last October, following attacks on border posts in Rakhine’s Maungdaw district, Myanmar security forces launched a five-month crackdown in which, according to Rohingya groups, around 400 people were killed.

The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings — including infants and young children — brutal beatings and disappearances committed by security personnel.

UN investigators said human rights violations constituted crimes against humanity.

Fresh violence erupted in Rakhine state more than two weeks ago when security forces launched an operation against the Rohingya community.

Bangladesh, which already hosted around 400,000 Rohingya refugees, has faced a fresh influx of refugees since the security operation was launched.

*Michael Hernandez contributed to this report from Washington


[Photo:  Rohingya Muslims fleeing from ongoing military operations in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, wait for relief near a camp at Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh on September 11,񎧡. Photographer:  Zakir Hossain Chowdhury/AA]

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