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Iran Press TV

Bangladesh urges Myanmar to end violence against Rohingya Muslims

Iran Press TV

Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:28PM

Bangladesh has urged Myanmar to end months of persecution and violence that have forced thousands of Rohingya Muslims in the northwestern Rakhine State to flee across the border.

Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali made the remark on Thursday after he held talks with a special envoy of Myanmar's State Counselor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi in Dhaka.

"The special envoy has been informed that the recent arrival of a huge number of Myanmar nationals and the long and illegal stay of approximately 300,000 unregistered Myanmar nationals have disrupted stability and economic development in the very important region of Chittagong," he told reporters.

The top diplomat also demanded quick repatriation of all Myanmar's citizens who have been living in Bangladesh.

"Bangladesh has demanded quick restoration of normal situation in Rakhine State so that Myanmar nationals, who have taken shelter in Bangladesh, can quickly go back home with full security and safety to their livelihood," the foreign minister said.

There was no comment from the envoy, Kyaw Tin, Myanmar's deputy foreign minister, who was to wrap up his three-day visit to Dhaka on Thursday.

Last month, Bangladesh's Foreign Ministry summoned Myanmar's ambassador to express "deep concern at the continued influx" of Rohingya Muslims.

According to the United Nations, at least 65,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled persecution and violence in Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh since the army launched a crackdown in Rakhine State in early October 2016.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its weekly report on January 9 that 22,000 Rohingyas had fled Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh over the past week.

Myanmar's military launched a fresh wave of crackdown on Muslims after a deadly attack on the country's border guards on October 9 left nine policemen dead. The government blamed the Rohingyas for the assault.

There have been numerous accounts by eyewitnesses of summary executions, rapes and arson attacks against Muslims since the crackdown began. The military has blocked access to Rakhine and banned journalists and aid workers from entering the zone.

The United Nations has warned that the ongoing human rights violations against the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine could be tantamount to "crimes against humanity."

Rakhine has been the scene of communal violence at the hands of Buddhist extremists since 2012. Hundreds of people have been killed and tens of thousands have been forced from their homes to live in squalid camps in dire conditions in Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The government denies full citizenship to the 1.1 million-strong Rohingya population, branding them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Rohingya Muslims are believed to be a community of ancient lineage in Myanmar.

According to the UN, the Rohingya Muslims are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

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