Ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas continues in Myanmar, says top United Nations official

ROHINGYA-CAMP-TENSIONS-MYANMAR-REUTERS

Some 700,000 Rohingya have fled over the border to Bangladesh since violence erupted in August, with horrifying testimonies emerging of murder, rape and arson by soldiers and vigilante mobs.

Speaking before the UN Human Rights Council, Zeid noted that his office said on Tuesday that it believes ethnic cleansing is still underway in Rakhine state.

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, he continued.

Rohingya are still fleeing because of "systematic" if lower-intensity persecution and violence there, he said.

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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Nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled military operations to Bangladesh, bringing with them tales of killings, rape, and arson by Myanmar security forces.

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.

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.

"Safe, dignified and sustainable returns are of course impossible under current conditions", Gilmour said.

The northern Rakhine state has been largely closed off to journalists, diplomats and most aid organisations by Myanmar's military.

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It has justified the crackdown as an effort to root out Rohingya militants who attacked border police posts in August, killing about a dozen people.

Living conditions for refugees remain extremely hard despite a growing global response, but the United Nations refugee agency said the threat from elephants had emerged as a new concern.

But the United Nations, rights groups and many Western powers have accused the army of using those attacks as a pretext to expel a minority which has faced brutal discrimination for decades.

"It appears that widespread and systematic violence against the Rohingya persists", the United Nations statement stated.

A recent report in The Irrawaddy claimed that at least 90 percent of the state's Rohingya population have fled. Myanmar's Buddhist majority is often accused of subjecting them to discrimination and violence.

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