WORLD

Systematic military operation in Rakhine state aims at expulsion of Rohingya Muslims

SYSTEMATIC MILITARY OPERATION IN RAKHINE STATE AIMS AT EXPULSION OF ROHINGYA MUSLIMS

A probe launched by the United Nation revealed that Myanmar army's systematic crackdown aimed at permanently expelling the minority Muslim community from their home in Rakhine state.

Myanmar's months-long attacks on Rohingya Muslims have been a concerted, well-organized campaign explicitly meant to push them out of the country into Bangladesh and block their return, a new UN report said on Wednesday.

"Brutal attacks against Rohingya in northern Rakhine state have been well-organised, coordinated and systematic, with the intent of not only driving the population out of Myanmar but preventing them from returning to their homes," according to a new UN report based on 65 interviews with individuals and groups conducted in Bangladesh.

"Human rights violations committed against the Rohingya population were carried out by Myanmar security forces often in concert with armed Rakhine Buddhist individuals," the report said.

"In some cases, before and during the attacks, megaphones were used to announce: 'You do not belong here -- go to Bangladesh. If you do not leave, we will torch your houses and kill you'," it said.

It also highlights a strategy to "instil deep and widespread fear and trauma -- physical, emotional and psychological" among the Rohingya population.

The report calls the operation launched by Myanmar security forces against Rohingya Muslims "clearance operations."

Noting serious concerns for the safety of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who remain in northern Rakhine state, the UN called on Myanmar authorities to "immediately allow humanitarian and human rights actors unfettered access to the stricken areas."

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Myanmar mission member Thomas Hunecke said in a press conference in Geneva "We have received very credible information that landmines were planted after the 25th of August on the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh and that entirely likely that these mines have been planted in order to prevent the Rohingya population from returning."

Noting that there is not only ethnic cleansing but also religious, OHCHR Myanmar mission member Karin Friedrich said there were mosques being burned and the holy Quran has been violated.

-'TEXTBOOK ETHNIC CLEANSING'
UN Human Rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has described Myanmar's government operations in northern Rakhine as "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing."

The refugees are fleeing a military operation in Myanmar which has seen security forces and Buddhist mobs killing men, women and children, looting homes, and torching Rohingya villages.

Since Aug. 25, when the military launched a crackdown against Rohingya, 519,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN.

It is "the largest and speediest" movement of a civilian population in Asia since the 1970s, the UN said.

Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has raised the issue at the UN.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.


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