United Nations: Myanmar government is continuing its “ethnic cleansing” of Rohingya while declaring it is ready to receive them back from Bangladesh, according to a UN human rights envoy.
Andrew Gilmour, United Nations assistant secretary-general for human rights, said these remarks in a statement on Tuesday after speaking to a newly-arrived Rohingya in Bangladesh’s refugee camps on his four-day visit to Cox’s Bazar district.
“The ethnic cleansing of Rohingya from Myanmar continues. I don’t think we can draw any other result from what I have seen and heard in Cox’s Bazar,” Gilmour said.
“It appears that widespread and systematic violence against the Rohingya persists,” the statement said.
His statement added that it was “impossible” that any Rohingya would be able to return to Myanmar in the near future, despite Myanmar’s promises to start taking back some refugees.
“The Government of Myanmar is busy telling the world that it is ready to receive Rohingya returnees, while at the same time its forces are continuing to drive them into Bangladesh,” Gilmour said.
“Safe, dignified and sustainable returns are of course impossible under current conditions.”
“The nature of the violence has changed from the frenzied blood-letting and mass rape of last year to a lower intensity campaign of terror and forced starvation that seems to be designed to drive the remaining Rohingya from their homes and into Bangladesh.”
The Most abused community
The Rohingya community, mostly Muslims are one of the most persecuted communities in the world, they are not recognised as citizens of Myanmar and face widespread discrimination from the authorities in the Buddhist majority country.
Besides the current exodus, tens of thousands of Rohingya have already been living as refugees in several neighbouring countries.
Since the violence erupted in August, about 700,000 Rohingya have fled over to Bangladesh border, bringing with them consistent testimony of murder, rape and arson by government forces and vigilante mobs.
Doctors Without Borders has estimated that at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in the first month of the crackdown alone.
Hundreds of Rohingya villages were set ablaze, and recent satellite imagery showed at least 55 villages have since been completely bulldozed, removing all traces of buildings, wells, and vegetation.