Ethnic cleansing of Rohingya apparent in Myanmar: UNHCR Chief

    Ethnic cleansing of Rohingya apparent in Myanmar: UNHCR Chief

    Sept 11, Yangoon: The mass exodus of Rohingya muslims from Rakhine is an indication of systematic ethnic cleansing, according to the United Nations Human Rights Commision for Refugees.

    According to the UNHCR chief, Zeid Raad Al Hussein,the security operation targeting Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar "seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing".He furhter urged Myanmar to end the "cruel military operation" in Rakhine state.

    Till date over More 300,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since violence erupted there late last month, while thousands have trickeled from Bangaldesh to its neighbourig countries as far as Nepal. There are an estimated over 300, rohingya muslims living in make shift homes made of zinc in Nepal's capital alone, of which only 147 are registered as asylum seekers in the country.

    Although Nepal has not signed the Nepal has not agreed to the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol there are over 37,000 refugees living in the country of which over 300 are Rohingya muslims, these people are “illegal migrants”, and  the government of Nepal does not recognise them as refugees. According to UNHCR, The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Kathmandu has verified 147 Rohingya in Nepal. Around 100 others have applied for asylum.

    The military says it is responding to attacks by Rohingya militants and denies it is targeting civilians.The violence began on 25 August when the Rohingya militants attacked police posts in northern Rakhine, killing 12 security personnel.

    Meanwhile,  Zeid, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that hhe current operation in Rakhine was "clearly disproportionate".

    He noted that the situation could not be fully assessed because Myanmar had refused access to human rights investigators, but said the UN had received "multiple reports and satellite imagery of security forces and local militia burning Rohingya villages, and consistent accounts of extrajudicial killings, including shooting fleeing civilians"."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 said.

    The latest reports have put the number of those who have fled to Bangladesh at 313,000. Aid agencies say they are in desperate need of food, shelter and medical aid, and that current resources are inadequate. And although, Bangladesh is already hosting hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who have fled previous outbreaks of violence in Rakhine. Existing refugee camps are full and the new arrivals are sleeping rough in whatever space they can find, reports say.

    As the ethnic cleansing continues, Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's de facto leader, is facing  criticism for failing to protect the Rohingya, and on Monday exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama added his voice, urging her "to reach out to all sections of society to try to restore friendly relations".

    The Oslo Times International News Network


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