Published: Mon, January 02, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

About 50000 Rohingya Muslims flee from Myanmar to Bangladesh: Dhaka government

About 50000 Rohingya Muslims flee from Myanmar to Bangladesh: Dhaka government

The Myanmar government has denied burning the villages, blaming it on "attackers".

Rakhine's Maungdaw district, predominantly occupied by members of the Rohingya minority, has been under strict military control since October 9 when a gang killed nine border police officials in an area close to Myanmar's western border with Bangladesh.

Dozens of the stateless Rohingya minority have been killed and tens of thousands displaced since October, when a fresh bout of state-sponsored violence hit restive Rakhine State.

The global community has warned Myanmar that the ongoing human rights violations in Rakhine could amount to "crimes against humanity".

They also criticised the country's leader Aung San Suu Kyi - herself a Nobel Peace Prize victor - for what they called a lack of initiative to protect the Rohingyas.

Aung San Suu Kyi, a political prisoner turned election-winner, is widely seen to have failed with her muted response to the current crisis, which erupted after an army response to a series of attacks on Myanmar police stations on 9 October.

Aung San Suu Kyi, who spent much of the past two decades under house arrest and was awarded the 1991 Nobel peace prize, won elections last November, ending decades of junta rule.

"Despite repeated appeals to Aung San Suu Kyi, we are frustrated that she has not taken any initiative to ensure full and equal citizenship rights of the Rohingya", said the letter signed by 13 Nobel laureates and 10 global leaders.

Among the signatories were Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the 1984 Nobel Peace Laureate, 1976 Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire, former Italian prime minister Romano Prodi, business leader and philanthropist Richard Branson, and Arianna Huffington, the founder and editor of The Huffington Post. In 1982, their rights to citizenship were removed, and they were rendered stateless, despite living in the country for generations.

"It would be one thing to round up suspects, interrogate them and put them on trial", the letter said.

The military has blocked access to the region and banned journalists and aid workers from entering the zone.

Around 300,000 Myanmar nationals have been in Bangladesh for years. The recent bloodshed is the most deadly since hundreds were killed in clashes in 2012 and more than 100,000 were forced into squalid camps.

Earlier in November the foreign ministry summoned the Myanmar envoy and expressed concerns over a renewed crisis as more Rohingyas, fleeing persecution, were crossing into Bangladesh. "It is quite another to unleash helicopter gunships on thousands of ordinary civilians and to rape women and throw babies into a fire", the letter read. The group also asks that the Security Council make the Rohingya's plight a matter of urgency and that the United Nations secretary-general visit Myanmar in the coming weeks.

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