Published: Wed, March 07, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

UN Human Rights official: ethnic cleansing continuing in Myanmar

UN Human Rights official: ethnic cleansing continuing in Myanmar

His statement, which came after a four-day visit to the Cox's Bazar district in Bangladesh, also said it was "inconceivable" that any Rohingya would be able to return to Myanmar in the near future, despite the country's pledges to start taking back some refugees.

Myanmar's military insists its crackdown was needed to root out Rohingya militants who attacked border police posts in August, killing about a dozen people.

The area now occupied by the Kutupalong refugee settlement in Cox's Bazar has always been an important habitat for East Asian Elephants, the agency said.

There was no immediate comment by the Myanmar government.

"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 a year ago 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". Now the nature of the violence has been transformed into a campaign of terror and forced hunger to get the remaining Rohingyas to leave their homes and flee to Bangladesh, he said.

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday gave the Centre 12 more days to respond to a plea by two Rohingya Muslim immigrants who had challenged its decision to deport refugees of the community to Myanmar. "We don't want India to become the refugee capital of the world", he said, adding that efforts were on at the diplomatic level to resolve the crisis.

Last week, Myanmar's army deployed additional security forces to the border with Bangladesh, with the apparent aim of driving about 6,000 Rohingya refugees staying in a no man's land into Bangladeshi territory.

The office is monitoring developments after several thousand people living in a makeshift camp "were reportedly ordered to vacate the area by the Myanmar authorities", the agency said. "There are about 40 elephants in the area and they move between Bangladesh and Myanmar in search of food", the Geneva-based agency said in a statement.

There are credible accounts of widespread human rights abuses, including rape, the torching of homes and killings, carried out against the Rohingya, leading to accusations that Myanmar is guilty of "ethnic cleansing", or even genocide.

Bangladesh last week protested to Myanmar's ambassador in Dhaka after Myanmar security personnel, estimated to number more than 200, gathered near the border.

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