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etvfutures.com November 22, 2017


Rohingya crisis: Myanmar army clears itself of wrongdoing

15 November 2017, 11:42 | Opal Carroll

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HUMAN RIGHTS groups have accused the Tatmadaw army of Burma (Myanmar) of whitewashing after it claimed on Monday that its troops had not attacked any civilian Rohingya Muslims during so-called "clearing operations" in Rakhine State.

"Although the Bengali villages where the engagements took place were burning and women and children were fleeing their homes, not a single shot was sacked on them", it said, adding that 376 "terrorists" had been killed.

"The Burmese military's absurd effort to absolve itself of mass atrocities underscores why an independent global investigation is needed to establish the facts and identify those responsible", Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has come under increasing worldwide pressure to act to prevent further tragedies from occurring.

A wave of refugees began fleeing the country in late August after Myanmar's response to an attack by Rohingya militants on more than 20 police posts that the government said left 12 members of the security forces dead.

Since Aug. 25, an estimated 613,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the United Nations.

Suu Kyi discussed the Rohingya crisis with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during the Southeast Asian summit in Manila.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday added his voice to the chorus of concern, informing ASEAN leaders he has tasked his special envoy to engage in diplomatic efforts to resolve the Rohingya crisis.

The Danish state secretary congratulated Bangladesh for its results within poverty reduction, access to education and health as some of the most significant results, the foreign ministry said. Human rights organisations have branded it a "whitewash".

The protest was calling for an end to the use of the word "Rohingya", as many government officials and Buddhists in the country claim the race does not exist and the people who putatively belong to it are in fact illegal Bengali immigrants.

Suu Kyi's failure to speak out strongly over the plight of the Rohingya has widely damaged the Nobel Peace Prize winner's reputation as a stateswoman. "Those responsible for abuses must be held accountable", Adams said.

"There is overwhelming evidence that the military has murdered and raped Rohingya and burned their villages to the ground", Amnesty said in a statement released on Monday evening.

"This is a major humanitarian crisis which looks like ethnic cleansing", she said in a speech in London.

"The Burmese military's absurd effort to absolve itself of mass atrocities underscores why an independent worldwide investigation is needed to establish the facts and identify those responsible", said Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW.



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