Ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas in Myanmar continues

Faith Castro
March 9, 2018

Some 700 000 people from Myanmar's Rohingya community have fled over the border to Bangladesh since August, following an army crackdown that the United Nations has said amounts to an ongoing campaign of "ethnic cleansing".

The military's statement maintained that "illegal Bengalis" were responsible for violence in Rakhine State, using a term preferred by the majority of Myanmar to infer Rohingya are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

During his visit, Gilmour interviewed refugees in Kutupalong-Balukhali, Cox's Bazar, which in the seven months since August 2017 has become the largest refugee camp in the world, holding approximately 700,000, mostly Rohingya refugees, Dujarric said.

Echoing the sentiments of other UN officials, Western governments and humanitarian agencies, Gilmour thanked the poor nation of Bangladesh for its generosity in hosting the huge population of Rohingya refugees.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted more time to the Centre to file an affidavit that alleged that the Border Security Force (BSF) is stopping Rohingya refugees from entering India.

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He said that "safe, dignified and sustainable returns" of the refugees are "of course impossible under current conditions".

A man walks between a rice field and the shacks of Rohingya refugees living on the land of Bangladeshi farmer Jorina Katun near the Kutapalong refugee camp in the Cox's Bazar district of Bangladesh February 9, 2018.

"The nature of the violence has changed 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".

Finance Minister A.M.A Muhith said the repatriation deal signed between Myanmar and Bangladesh in November would likely fail despite his government's official stance that the refugees must eventually go back.

"These people have fled violence at home and must be able to seek asylum in Bangladesh if they feel unsafe where they are", she said. Zaw Htay said Myanmar had the right to move people from its territory and part of an agreed "buffer zone" with Bangladesh. 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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