Estonian MEP Paet to visit Rohingya refugee camps in South Asia

Estonian MEP Paet to visit Rohingya refugee camps in South Asia

In related news, British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson, who is on a four-day tour of Asia, yesterday stopped off in Myanmar to press Burmese State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on the need for an independent probe into violence in Rakhine State.

The meeting followed Johnson's visit to a refugee camp in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar district, where almost 700,000 Rohingya had sought sanctuary in squalid settlements since a Myanmar army crackdown in northern Rakhine last August.

The Myanmar government has faced global accusations of waging an ethnic cleansing campaign in Rakhine, with almost 700,000 Rohingya fleeing the area since last August amid reports of atrocities committed by troops and vigilante groups.

Estonian MEP Urmas Paet as a member of the European Parliament delegation on Saturday will travel to Bangladesh and Myanmar to visit the refugee camps of the Rohingya people and discuss ending their persecution with the authorities of Myanmar.

United Nations investigators have been blocked from the conflict zone. Doctors Without Borders estimates at least 6,700 Rohingya died in the first month of violence.

Police arrested two Reuters reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, on December 12 for allegedly obtaining confidential documents relating to Rakhine and have accused them of violating Myanmar's Official Secrets Act.

But the Nobel laureate has refused to change tack and is accused by critics of adopting a siege mentality. Myanmar's government has denied carrying out any large-scale or organized abuses against the Rohingya.

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The Bangladesh border where refugees are sheltered is set to welcome foreign minister Boris Johnson who plans to embark on a trip to its camps.

Myanmar and Bangladesh have inked a deal to bring back refugees, but repatriation has yet to begin.

Before the meeting, Mr Johnson said: "The plight of the Rohingya and the suffering they have had to endure is one of the most shocking humanitarian disasters of our time".

Their report, which was released on Friday, details events surrounding the massacre, in which 10 Rohingya men from Inn Din village were hacked to death or shot by Buddhist neighbors or soldiers in September 2017.

The arrests were "not because of Reuters news".

The panel was thrown into the spotlight last month after veteran USA diplomat Bill Richardson published a withering resignation letter saying he could not in "good conscience" sit on a board he feared would only "whitewash" the causes of the Rohingya crisis.