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Rohingya refugees want protected means again

12 February, 2018, 01:02 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • EU Parliament delegation goes to Myanmar, as evidence of genocide spreads

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

Almost 690,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar's Rakhine state and crossed into southern Bangladesh since August, when attacks on security posts by insurgents triggered a military crackdown that the United Nations has said may amount to genocide.

The Rohingya have long faced severe discrimination and were the targets of violence in 2012 that killed hundreds and drove about 140,000 people - predominantly Rohingya - from their homes to camps for the internally displaced, where most remained until last year's fresh violence, the scale of which has led to accusations that Myanmar's army carried out ethnic cleansing or even genocide.

Britain's foreign minister, Boris Johnson, said he would raise the case of the two journalists during a meeting with Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, on Sunday.

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

The Reuters investigation of the Inn Din massacre was what prompted the arrest of two of the news agency's reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, both Myanmar nationals.

But the Nobel laureate has refused to change tack and is accused by critics of adopting a siege mentality.




Myanmar authorities deny the allegations but have virtually cut off northern Rakhine, barring independent media from accessing the conflict-hit areas.

Almost 690,000 Rohingya have fled their villages and crossed the border of western Myanmar into Bangladesh since August.

"It is vital that the Rohingya refugees must be allowed to their homes in Rakhine voluntarily, in safety and with dignity, under worldwide oversight, and when the conditions in Burma are right", he said.

Mr Johnson visited a UNICEF child-friendly site where he saw the efforts being made to keep young people safe.

"They do want to go back - but they don't feel safe", Mr Johnson said.

Others have no home to return to after their villages were torched in the military crackdown.

Veteran United States diplomat Bill Richardson dramatically stepped down from the board last month, saying he could not in "good conscience" sit on a panel he feared would only "whitewash" the causes of the Rohingya crisis.

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