United Nations warns of 'ethnic cleansing' of Myanmar's Muslims

Posted September 12, 2017

Accounts from refugees show the Myanmar military is also targeting civilians with shootings and wholesale burning of Rohingya villages in an apparent attempt to purge Rakhine state of Muslims.

"This act would also be in contradiction with the principle of "Non-Refoulement", which has been widely recognised as a principle of Customary International Law", the plea said, while seeking a direction to the government not to deport them and other members of Rohingya community.

The diplomats praised Bangladesh for hosting Rohingyas for decades and giving the shelters to new arrivals, according to the foreign ministry statement.

Many travelled long distances to attend Sunday's protest, including Zain Phyo, one of about a dozen Rohingya Muslims who arrived from Kitchener, Ont. - one of the centres of Canada's small Rohingya diaspora.

At least 313,000 Muslim Rohingya have fled across the border to Bangladesh since fighting broke out on August 25, according to the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) in Bangladesh, which represents United Nations and aid agencies.

The Red Cross in Bangladesh welcomed the ceasefire pledge as aid agencies struggle to meet the needs of an "overwhelming crisis", battling monsoon rains to deliver relief to people who have fled with few belongings. Refugees told Human Rights Watch that while many people from Maungdaw Township could escape to Bangladesh, tens of thousands of displaced Rohingya are still hiding in the areas surrounding Rathedaung and Buthidaung Townships.

"We went to all the camps but there was no place to stay".

"We shut down the lights in the mosque and sneaked out", the mufti, who was in the mosque at the time, told Reuters by phone.

Better-known locally as Harakah al-Yaqin (Faith Movement), ARSA launched coordinated raids using hundreds of militants on August 25 on around 30 police posts and state offices in the north of Rakhine state.

Communal tensions appeared to be rising across Myanmar on Monday after two weeks of violence in Rakhine state that have triggered an exodus of about 300,000 Rohingya Muslims, prompting the government to tighten security at Buddhist pagodas.

The government is arranging a high-profile visit of all ambassadors, high commissioners and chargés d'affaires, stationed in Bangladesh, to different temporary and permanent shelters of the Rohingya in Cox's Bazar on Wednesday, reports UNB.

He noted the United Nations refugee agency says 270,000 people from Myanmar have fled to neighboring Bangladesh in the last three weeks, and pointed to satellite imagery and reports of "security forces and local militia burning Rohingya villages" and committing extrajudicial killings. "How can we believe a ceasefire will have any effect?"

"It may not be land mines, but I know there have been isolated cases of Myanmar soldiers planting explosives three to four days ago", Ariful said Friday.

But Myanmar labels them "extremist Bengali terrorists" intent on carving out an Islamic enclave for the Rohingya.

Burma denies Rohingya exist as an ethnic group and says those living in Rakhine are illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

The government of Myanmar - also known as Burma - said almost 400 people have been killed in the fighting, which it blames on those insurgents.

That means over a third of the estimated 1.1 million Rohingya in Rakhine state have fled in less than a year.