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UN Rights Official: Myanmar's Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingyas Continues


Rohingya Muslims gather outside their makeshift homes on land belonging to Bangladeshi farmer Jorina Katun near Kutapalong refugee camp in the Cox's Bazar district of Bangladesh, Feb. 9, 2018.

A United Nations official says Myanmar security forces continue to subject the remaining Rohingya Muslims in northwest Rakhine state to human rights abuses.

"The ethnic cleansing of Rohingya from Myanmar continues," Andrew Gilmour, the U.N.'s assistant secretary-general for human rights, said in a written statement Tuesday, basing his conclusion from Rohingyas who had recently arrived in overcrowded refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh.

Nearly 700,000 Rohingyas have fled into Bangladesh since last August to escape a brutal crackdown by Myanmar security forces. Rohingya witnesses and human rights activists have accused the armed forces of committing murder, rape and arson.

FILE - Ten Rohingya Muslim men with their hands bound kneel as members of the Myanmar security forces stand guard in Inn Din village, Sept. 2, 2017.
FILE - Ten Rohingya Muslim men with their hands bound kneel as members of the Myanmar security forces stand guard in Inn Din village, Sept. 2, 2017.

​Gilmour now says Myanmar forces have changed their tactics from "the frenzied blood-letting and mass rape of last year to a lower intensity campaign of terror and forced starvation."

Myanmar and Bangladesh have agreed to repatriate scores of Rohingya Muslims, but Gilmour says any hope of "safe, dignified and sustainable returns" are "impossible under current conditions."

Acclaimed New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof described the situation in Rakhine state as "a slow motion genocide" in a first-hand account of his visit to the troubled region published last week. Kristof says the Rohingya remain confined to their villages and a huge concentration are denied most education and medical care.

Kristof says the government has prevented international aid groups from traveling to Rakhine state to help the Rohingyas.

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