Burma said on Friday a visiting US official would not be allowed to go to a region where violence has triggered an exodus of nearly 400,000 Rohingya Muslims that the United Nations has branded a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
The US Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday he had spoken with Aung San Suu Kyi and that she said she was working to get aid to the Muslim areas in Arakan State that were affected by violence.
If there’s one thing that unites Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the army that once tried to crush her, and the majority of people in mostly Buddhist Burma, it is their vehement dislike of Rohingya Muslims, seen as a threat to national security.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council on Wednesday urged Burmese authorities to end violence against the majority-Buddhist country’s Rohingya Muslims that has forced some 400,000 people to flee to Bangladesh.
Burma’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, facing outrage over ethnic violence that has forced about 370,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh, will not attend the upcoming UN General Assembly because of the crisis, her office said on Wednesday.
Pressure mounted on Burma on Tuesday to end violence that has sent more than 300,000 Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh, with the United States calling for the protection of civilians and Bangladesh seeking international help to handle the crisis.
The United Nations’ top human rights official on Monday slammed Burma for conducting a “cruel military operation” against Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State, branding it “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
Burma on Sunday rebuffed a ceasefire declared by Muslim Rohingya insurgents to enable the delivery of aid to thousands of displaced people in the violence-wracked state of Arakan, declaring simply that it did not negotiate with terrorists.
Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Thursday her government was doing its best to protect everyone in the strife-torn state of Arakan, as the estimated number of Rohingya Muslims who have fled to Bangladesh leapt by 18,000 in one day, to 164,000.
The ability of the Arakan Rohingya Solidarity Army to mount a much more ambitious assault last month compared with its attacks in northern Arakan State last year indicates that many young Rohingya men have been galvanised into supporting the group, sources say.
As attention increasingly focuses on the tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims amassing at already overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh, thousands have also been displaced within Arakan State and more than 300 teachers in the conflict zone are “stranded” and in need of air-lifted evacuation.
State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday blamed “terrorists” for “a huge iceberg of misinformation” on the violence in Arakan State but made no mention of the nearly 125,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled over the border to Bangladesh since 25 August.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed to Burmese authorities on Tuesday to end violence against Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State, warning of the risk of ethnic cleansing and regional destabilisation.
Two blasts rocked an area in Burma near the Bangladeshi border on Monday, accompanied by the sound of gunfire and thick black smoke, as violence that has sent nearly 90,000 Muslim Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh showed no sign of easing.
Nearly 90,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since violence erupted in Burma in August, pressuring scarce resources of aid agencies and communities already helping hundreds of thousands of refugees from previous spasms of violence in Burma.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has sent his foreign minister to Burma to urge its government to halt violence against Rohingya Muslims, he said on Sunday after a petrol bomb was thrown at the Burmese Embassy in Jakarta.
Around 120,000 displaced people, mostly Rohingya Muslims, in camps in Arakan State are not receiving food supplies or healthcare after the United Nations and aid groups suspended operations following government accusations of supporting insurgents.
Nearly 400 people have died in fighting that has rocked Burma’s northwest for a week, new official data show, making it probably the deadliest bout of violence to engulf the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority in decades.
Over 18,000 Rohingya Muslims, many sick and some with bullet wounds, have fled the worst violence to grip northwestern Burma in at least five years, while thousands more are stuck at the Bangladesh border or scrambling to reach it.
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday doubled down on an earlier accusation from the government that international and local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) played a part in the deadly attacks staged by Muslim militants in northern Arakan State last week.
Thailand is preparing to receive people fleeing fighting in Burma and send them back “when they are ready,” the Thai prime minister said on Tuesday, following a series of attacks by Muslim insurgents on Burmese security forces last week.
Thousands of fearful Rohingya Muslims and Arakanese Buddhist civilians have fled the worst fighting to grip Burma’s northwest in five years, with 104 people killed and the United Nations and international aid groups forced to pull out some staff.