Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Ongoing terror, forced starvation against Rohingya says UN

Tears and mourning in Rohingya Tears and mourning in Rohingya
Melissa Porter | 07 March, 2018, 15:27

Refugee camps have shot up in Bangladesh's border area of Cox's Bazar, including Kutupalong which is now the largest refugee camp in the world.

- The senior United Nations official for human rights said Tuesday that it is impossible to safely send Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh back to Myanmar because widespread and systematic violence appears to be continuing against them in Myanmar, amounting to "ethnic cleansing". There, they have been recounting the horrific violence they were exposed to back in Rakhine, which the government has blockaded.

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.

According to the witness accounts, soldiers and Buddhist mobs have been murdering and raping the Rohingya, and torching their villages.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, in a speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council, also said that reports of bulldozing of mass graves in Myanmar showed a "deliberate attempt by the authorities to destroy evidence of potential worldwide crimes, including possible crimes against humanity". Satellite imagery obtained by rights groups have shown entire villages bulldozed in what seems to be an attempt at destroying crime scenes.

Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour, who has just visited Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, made the conclusion, said the United Nations spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says the same refugees face a continuing threat from wild elephants who range the region.

More than 600,000 Rohingya are languishing in Bangladeshi refugee camps after fleeing a brutal Myanmar army campaign launched in late August.

Gilmour said after speaking to newly-arrived Rohingya in Bangladesh's crowded refugee camps.

"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", he said in a statement, adding that new arrivals are traveling from interior Rakhine towns further from the border. Pursuing the conditions that will address these causes and enable their voluntary and sustainable return is critical.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has estimated that at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in the first month of the crackdown alone.