Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

Rohingya seemingly face 'ethnic cleansing' United Nations human rights chief

An exhausted Rohingya refugee woman touches the shore after crossing the Bangladesh Myanmar border by boat through the Bay of Bengal in Shah Porir Dwip Bangladesh As Myanmar Muslims flee crackdown, US is wary of involvement
Sammy Stanley | 12 September, 2017, 00:35

More than 300,000 Rohyingya refugees have fled Myanmar as tensions continue to rise in the country.

"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", he added.

The continuing Myanmar military operation against the minority Rohingya people appears to be a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing", the United Nations human rights chief said Monday.

Rohingya militants known as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) had offered to pause "offensive military operations" until October 9 to give access to aid groups to address the "humanitarian crisis".

On Venezuela, Zeid called for an global independent investigation of possible rights violations, citing a report from his office last month that documented allegations of excessive use of force by security forces to quash protests against President Nicolas Maduro's government.

Rohingya militants, who sparked an army crackdown in Myanmar that has seen almost 300,000 Rohingya flee to Bangladesh, on Sunday declared a unilateral ceasefire to allow aid to reach the increasingly desperate refugees.

It also acknowledges the efforts by member states which had provided humanitarian and development assistance for the Rohingya people and encourage all states to formulate development projects that would provide education, health services and vocational training that would benefit the community of the Rakhine states, regardless of ethnicity or religion.

Myanmar's de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who won a Nobel peace prize for championing democracy, has been accused of failing to speak out for the Rohingya - a minority that has long complained of persecution - in an attempt to appease the Buddhist majority.

Officials have blamed insurgents and Rohingya themselves for burning villages to draw global attention to their cause.

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Zeid urged the Myanmar government to "stop pretending that the Rohingyas are setting fire to their own homes and laying waste to their own villages".

The wave of hungry and traumatized refugees pouring into Bangladesh has strained aid agencies and local communities already helping hundreds of thousands displaced by previous waves of violence in Myanmar.

Azril said the Bangladesh government had, on Sept 8, taken a diplomatic initiative by proposing to Myanmar to create a "safe zone" inside its Rakhine state under the surveillance of the United Nations (UN).

The ISCG in Bangladesh said $77 million in funding was needed to deliver urgent aid to the new arrivals.

Reuters journalists in Cox's Bazar could see huge blazes and plumes of smokes on the other side. Many are still trying to cross mountains, dense bush and rice fields to reach Bangladesh. It said at least three people including two children were injured in the past week.

He said the fleeing Rohingyas have been given shelter on humanitarian grounds on the instruction of prime minister Sheikh Hasina.

For decades, the Burmese government has considered the Rohingya, most of whom live in northern Rakhine State, to be foreign nationals from Bangladesh. "That's why we came here", she told AFP.

Authorities say the mob was dispersed after police with riot shields fired rubber bullets. Many of those who had fled to India after the earlier spate of violence, have settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan.

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