World

In Myanmar : US warns against civilian attacks as 17 drown fleeing violence

In Myanmar : US warns against civilian attacks as 17 drown fleeing violence

In just one week, nearly 50,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled their homes in Myanmar's Rakhine state, according to estimates by the UN. About 1.1 million Rohingya live in apartheid-like conditions in northern Rakhine.

Fortify Rights, an NGO with a focus on Myanmar, said eyewitnesses alleged mobs shot and hacked down Rohingya villagers - including children - in a five-hour "killing spree" in the village of Chut Pyin in Rathedaung township on Sunday afternoon.

"The US supports democracy for the Myanmarese people, and we condemn attacks by militant groups in Rakhine State", US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in a statement yesterday.

"Now we are training them in our camp", said the young fighter clad in tracksuit bottoms, a polo shirt and sandals.

"I am concerned that these events will derail efforts to address the root causes of the systematic discrimination and recurrent violence in Rakhine State", said the Special Rapporteur. He reiterated the fact that India is not a signatory to any of the Refugee Conventions and therefore is not bound to host the Rohingyas.

"Considering the mass massacre of the Rohingya community in their home country, India must continue to accord refuge to the Rohingya population residing in India and refrain from deporting them", it said.

The violence marks a dramatic escalation of a conflict that has simmered since October, when a similar, but much smaller, series of Rohingya attacks on security posts prompted a fierce military response dogged by allegations of human rights abuses.

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On Wednesday, the bodies of two Rohingya women and two children also washed up in Bangladesh after their boat capsized.

Over the years, tens of thousands have attempted to flee across the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea to Thailand and Malaysia.

In the riots that followed, dozens of people were killed and some 90,000 Rohingya fled into Bangladesh.

"We are working with the Bangladeshi authorities and our partners to provide life-saving assistance, including temporary shelter, food and medical treatment for those who need it", Tan said. Indian government has said that it will attempt to return the 40,000 Rohingya in the country.

"The humanitarian situation is deteriorating rapidly and I am concerned that many thousands of people are increasingly at risk of grave violations of their human rights", Yanghee Lee, the United Nations special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, said in a statement late Thursday endorsed by the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Ahmed Shaheed, and the special rapporteur on minority issues, Fernand de Varennes.

Around 1.1 million Muslim Rohingya now living in mainly Buddhist Myanmar have been denied citizenship and are classified as illegal immigrants.

The foreign ministry said while Bangladesh has been cooperating with Myanmar in the security sector, such instances of "violation of sovereignty may affect the existing understanding and cooperation between the two countries".


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