Bangladesh urges 'safe zones' for Rohingya in Myanmar
Iran Press TV
Fri Sep 22, 2017 05:16AM
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for the establishment of safe zones inside Myanmar to protect the Rohingya Muslims who are fleeing a government-sanctioned crackdown to seek refuge in her country.
Hasina, who was addressing the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Thursday, proposed a five-point plan for the protection of the Rohingyas in "safe zones that could be created inside Myanmar under UN supervision."
Myanmar must also stop the violence and "the practice of ethnic cleansing," agree to allow a UN fact-finding mission, ensure the return of refugees from Bangladesh, and abide by a report that recommends citizenship for the Rohingya, said Hasina.
"These people must be able to return to their homeland in safety, security and dignity," she said.
The recent exodus of Rohingya has brought the number of refugees from Rakhine living in Bangladesh to over 800,000, said the prime minister.
Hasina said Myanmarese authorities were laying landmines on the border to prevent the Rohingya from returning.
Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar's Rakhine State have been subject to a coordinated campaign of horrific violence at the hands of the military and Buddhist mobs since late last year, when the military laid siege to Rakhine. There have been widespread reports and eyewitness accounts of killings, rapings, indiscriminate shootings at fleeing civilians, and the burning down of houses.
The Myanmarese government claims it is fighting militants in the area, but the UN says the situation is better described as the "ethnic cleansing" of the Rohingya Muslims, whom the Myanmarese government refuses to recognize as citizens.
The violence has prompted an international outcry, and several world leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, have described it as "genocide."
The 1.1-million-strong Rohingya people have already suffered decades of discrimination in Myanmar.
The Rohingya Muslims have been living in Myanmar for generations.
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