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UN Security Council envoys hear of rapes, murders from Rohingya refugees

01 May 2018, 04:54 | Myrtle Vega

A Rohingya refugee camp in Cox's Bazar Bangladesh Sept. 19 2017

A Rohingya refugee camp in Cox's Bazar Bangladesh Sept. 19 2017

Myanmar has faced intense worldwide pressure over the military clampdown against the Rohingya launched last August that the United Nations has called "ethnic cleansing".

"She told the Security Council members "please bring to our notice any infringement of these laws and we will do whatever is necessary to take the action", he told Reuters on Monday after the meeting.

Myanmar security forces were accused of rape, murder, torture and setting Rohingya homes on fire.

Some of the Muslim refugees broke down in tears as they told the ambassadors harrowing stories of murder and rape in Myanmar. "We want security and return of our confiscated land and properties", said Rohingya leader Mohibullah, adding that they would present the delegation with 14 conditions for their repatriation to Rakhine.

"It's quite overwhelming. Obviously the scale of this camp is unlike anything I've ever seen", said deputy US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelley Currie.

Representatives from the five permanent Security Council members - China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States - and 10 non-permanent member states have joined the delegation, which arrived in the coastal town of Cox's Bazar, where the camps are located. "And here, we will have to do our best to discuss this issue and find solutions in the Security Council", he also said.

The team members will conclude their three-day visit to Bangladesh on Monday, when they leave for Myanmar.

Myanmar has faced intense worldwide pressure since the start of a military campaign in August that has driven some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims over the border into Bangladesh, where refugees have provided harrowing testimony of murder and rape by security forces and local mobs.

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Rohingya are denied citizenship in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, where they have faced persecution for decades.

The UN delegates will travel by helicopter Tuesday over the scarred landscape of northern Rakhine state, the scene of an army campaign starting last August that drove around 700,000 of the minority into neighbouring Bangladesh.

Pierce praised Bangladesh for their support of the Rohingya community, saying they have "saved thousands of Rohingya lives".

Bangladesh's acting Foreign Secretary M Khurshed Alam said the visit is "very significant".

Thousands of refugees gathered amid scorching heat at the Kutupalong camp to welcome the visiting delegation.

The Tatmadaw - another name for Burma's military - has denied accusations of genocide and ethnic cleansing, maintaining it is carrying out legitimate response to attacks by "terrorist" Rohingya rebel groups.

Myanmar has said the military operation in Rakhine was mounted to root out extremists and has rejected almost all allegations that its security forces committed atrocities.

In November a year ago, the Security Council strongly condemned the government-sanctioned violence against Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya minority in a unanimously-backed statement.



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