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SA NGO gets permission to build homes for displaced Rohingya refugees

15 Novembre 2017

More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since late August, driven out by a counter-insurgency clearance operation in Rakhine state that a top United Nations official has called a classic case of "ethnic cleansing".

Recently, the general in charge of operations in Rakhine was transferred.

"He wasn't moved into any position at present, he has been put in reserve".

However, in a statement issued by military chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing late Monday cleared soldiers of all the allegations.

The military's self-exoneration came as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson prepared to visit Myanmar today for talks with leaders. He is expected to deliver a stern message to Myanmar's generals, over whom national leader Aung San Suu Kyi has little control.

"We remain gravely concerned by continuing reports of violence and human rights abuses committed by Burmese security forces and vigilantes. Those responsible for abuses must be held accountable".

In an op-ed in Britain's Guardian newspaper on Monday, Republican Representative Steve Chabot and Democratic Representative Joseph Crowley said it was time to "expeditiously" impose sanctions.

Speaking in Dhaka on Sunday, Pramila Patten, the United Nations special representative of the secretary-general on sexual violence in conflict, said she would raise accusations against the Myanmar military with the International Criminal Court in Hague.

Washington, D.C. -based Refugees International called on Tillerson on Tuesday to recognize the Rohingya crisis as ethnic cleansing, a term that the US government has so far refused to use.

"This is according to interviews and focus groups they've been conducting in Cox's Bazar", he said, referring to where makeshift refugee camps were established in southeastern Bangladesh, neighbouring Myanmar's Rakhine state.

Fatema a Rohingya woman and her two children sit inside a mosquito net in Palong Khali refugee camp
Fatema a Rohingya woman and her two children sit inside a mosquito net in Palong Khali refugee camp

"The full extent of the violations against the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities will not be known until the UN Fact-Finding Mission and other independent observers are given unfettered access to Myanmar, and in particular Rakhine State", he said.

"Rape is an act and a weapon of genocide", she said.

"All this report shows is how totally unrepentant the Myanmar military is for what they have done".

In a statement issued late Monday, the military said it had interviewed thousands of people during a month-long investigation into the conduct of troops in western Rakhine state after Rohingya insurgents launched a series of deadly attacks there on August 25.

Nor were there any killings or beating of villagers, and the security forces did not carry out any looting or set fire to Rohingya mosques, it said.

The report also concluded that security forces only used small arms in clashes with Rohingya militants and there were no findings to suggest the use of "excessive force".

The country is in the early stages of a fragile transition to democracy after being ruled by a junta for 49 years, and the generals have retained their autonomy on matters of defense, security and border issues under a 2008 constitution.

Suu Kyi has said that any alleged atrocities should be substantiated and investigated, while her government is working to stabilise Rakhine in order for the Rohingyas to return.

For now, though, the flow is one way.

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SA NGO gets permission to build homes for displaced Rohingya refugees