Myanmar army replaces general in charge of Rakhine operation
Myanmar army replaces general in charge of Rakhine operation
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15 November, 2017, 08:22
Myanmar's army released a report on Monday denying all allegations of rape and killings by security forces, having days earlier replaced the general in charge of the operation that drove more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh.
On Tuesday in Naypyitaw, the capital, Myanmar authorities began the first of five days of talks with Bangladesh border guard officials to discuss how to resolve the refugee crisis and other issues along their common frontier.
Myanmar says the clearance operation was necessary for national security after Rohingya militants attacked 30 security posts and an army base in the state on August 25.
"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.
Rohingya, described by the United Nations as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
"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.
"The UN Migration Agency (IOM) has found that human trafficking and exploitation is rife among Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar into Bangladesh", Xinhua news agency quoted UN spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, as saying on Tuesday.
The military's report came ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's visit on Wednesday and growing calls in Washington for economic and travel sanctions against the military and its interests.
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Suu Kyi has said that any alleged atrocities should be substantiated and investigated, while her government is working to stabilize Rakhine in order for the Rohingya to return.
"She has said what she will do, and ASEAN must make comments on Myanmar only after waiting and seeing what she does", he said.
When Aung San Suu Kyi met United Nations chief Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the conference on Tuesday, he stressed that the Rohingya refugees should be allowed to voluntarily return to Myanmar and that the government should increase efforts to ensure humanitarian access to the areas affected by violence.
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. "Failure to make strong statements connected to strong actions will do just that", he said. In the past week, some 1,200 people crossed over on such flimsy rafts, according to police.
Speaking in September, Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali said around 3,000 Rohingya had been killed in the crackdown.
"We have our population list with data and documents from immigration and administrative departments", he said.
"We have seen a great need for shelter for these people". Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.
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