Top UN rights official warns of ‘ethnic cleansing’ against Myanmar Muslims


Worldwide protests against Mayanmar atrocities
United Nations

The United Nations’ top human rights official has denounced the Myanmar government for its apparent “systematic attack” on Rohingya Muslims, warning that “ethnic cleansing” seems to be underway against the minority community.
Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council on Monday, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein slammed Myanmar for refusing to give human rights investigators access to the troubled western Rakhine State, where Rohingya Muslims are mainly based.
“The current situation cannot yet be fully assessed, but the situation seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rigts said.
He said more than 270,000 Rohingya Muslims living in Rakhine had fled to neighboring Bangladesh, with more trapped on the border, amid numerous reports of brutal atrocities being committed against them, including the burning of villages and extrajudicial killings.
“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 Dalai Lama speaks out against Myanmar: Meanwhile, as international pressure mounts on Myanmar to stop the atrocities, the Dalai Lama, who is the spiritual leader of Buddhists, has expressed profound concern over the ongoing violence against Myanmar’s Muslims, urging the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.
“I appeal to you and your fellow leaders to reach out to all sections of society to try to restore friendly relations throughout the population in a spirit of peace and reconciliation,” said in a letter to Myanmar’s disgraced Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
The Dalai Lama says the suffering of Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar would have inspired the Buddha to help.
Those who are harassing Muslims “should remember Buddha,” said the Dalai Lama, also a Nobel peace laureate, adding that the Buddha would have definitely extended a helping hand to “those poor Muslims.”
Myanmar using landmines to harm fleeing Rohingya: Meanwhile, Amnesty International and Bangladeshi officials have slammed Myanmar’s military for using landmines against the Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence at home, causing many of the refugees to sustain serious injures or lose their body organs.
The United Nations says 300,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to neighboring Bangladesh since the Myanmar military unleashed another deadly campaign against the Rohingya-majority Rakhine State two weeks ago.
Bangladeshi officials and Amnesty International experts believe new landmines have been recently planted, including one that the rights group said blew off a Bangladeshi farmer’s leg and another that wounded a Rohingya man. Both incidents occurred Sunday.
AP reporters in Bangladesh on Monday saw an elderly woman injured by a landmine. She had devastating leg wounds: one leg with the calf apparently blown off and the other also badly injured. Relatives said she had stepped on a landmine.
Amnesty said, based on interviews with eyewitnesses and analyses by weapons experts, there was “targeted use of landmines” along a narrow stretch of the northwestern border of Rakhine State that is a crossing point from Myanmar to Bangladesh for fleeing Rohingya Muslims.—Agencies