Deplore Measures by India to Deport Rohingyas During Violence: UN

“The situation (in Myanmar) seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” said a top UN human rights official.

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India
2 min read
Rohingya refugees in Jammu.
i

The top UN human rights official on Monday denounced Myanmar's "brutal security operation" against Muslim Rohingyas in Rakhine state, saying it was disproportionate to insurgent attacks carried out last month.

Communal tensions appeared to be rising across Myanmar on Monday after two weeks of violence in Rakhine state that have triggered an exodus of about 3,00,000 Rohingya Muslims, prompting the government to tighten security at Buddhist pagodas.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, addressing the United Nations Human Rights Council, said that more than 2,70,000 people had fled to Bangladesh, with more trapped on the border, amid reports of the burning of villages and extrajudicial killings.

We have received multiple reports and satellite imagery of security forces and local militia burning Rohingya villages, and consistent accounts of extrajudicial killings, including shooting fleeing civilians.

He cited reports that Myanmar authorities had begun to lay landmines along the border with Bangladesh and would require returnees to provide "proof of citizenship".

"I deplore current measures in India to deport Rohingyas at a time of such violence against them in their country," Zeid said, noting that some 40,000 Rohingyas had settled in India, including 16,000 who have received refugee documentation.

Noting India's obligations under international law, he said:

India cannot carry out collective expulsions, or return people to a place where they risk torture or other serious violations.

Rohingya have been stripped of civil and political rights including citizenship rights for decades, he added.

"I call on the government to end its current cruel military operation, with accountability for all violations that have occurred, and to reverse the pattern of severe and widespread discrimination against the Rohingya population," Zeid said.

The situation seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.
Zeid

Last year Zeid's office issued a report, based on interviews with Rohingya who fled to Bangladesh after a previous military assault, which he said on Monday had "suggested a widespread or systematic attack against the community, possibly amounting to crimes against humanity".

The United Nations and the Bangladesh government have said the number arriving has slowed down in recent days although the situation is still volatile.

Attacks by Rohingya militants on Myanmar security forces in Rakhine on 25 August sparked harsh military reprisals and an exodus across the border to southeast Bangladesh.

Refugee camps and makeshift settlements in Bangladesh near the border with Myanmar already hosted some 4,00,000 Rohingya before the latest upsurge in violence, and are now completely overwhelmed.

That has left tens of thousands of new arrivals with nowhere to shelter from the monsoon rains. Those flocking into Bangladesh have made harrowing allegations of murder, rape and widespread arson by Myanmar’s army.

Most have walked for days and the United Nations says many are sick, exhausted and in desperate need of shelter, food and water.

(With inputs from PTI, Reuters)

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