UN accuses Myanmar of Rohingya cleansing

UNHCR Bangladesh chief John McKissick tells BBC Bangla

Accusing Myanmar for ethnic killing, a senior UN official told British Broadcasting media BBC that the government wants to rid the country of its Muslim minority.

Efforts to resolve the issue must focus on "the root cause" inside Myanmar, McKissick, head of the UN refugee agency UNHCR, Bangladesh told BBC Bangla in Cox's Bazar today.

Armed forces have been killing Rohingya in Rakhine state, forcing many to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh, he said.

The government of Myanmar has been conducting counter-insurgency operations since coordinated attacks on border guards in October.

However, Naypyidaw denies reports of atrocities.

He said the Myanmar military and Border Guard Police had "engaged in collective punishment of Rohingya minority" after the murders of nine border guards on October 9 which some politicians blamed on a Rohingya militant group.

Myanmar security forces force Rohingyas to cross the river

Security forces have been "killing men, shooting them, slaughtering children, raping women, burning and looting houses, forcing these people to cross the river" into Bangladesh, McKissick said.

"Now it's very difficult for the Bangladeshi government to say the border is open because this would further encourage the government of Myanmar to continue the atrocities and push them out until they have achieved their ultimate goal of ethnic cleansing of the Muslim minority in Myanmar," he told BBC.

Earlier today, the foreign ministry summoned Myanmar's ambassador to express "deep concern" over the military operation in northern Rakhine state.

It said "desperate people" were crossing the border seeking safety and shelter and asked Myanmar to "ensure the integrity of its border".

Earlier this week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released satellite images which it said showed that more than 1,200 homes had been razed in Rohingya villages over the past six weeks.


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