Thursday, 21 September, 2017

Myanmar's leader blames 'fake news' after Muslims forced to flee country

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Christy Curtis | 10 September, 2017, 11:08

The Rohingya have been subject to communal violence by extremist Buddhists for years, forcing large groups of Muslims to take perilous journeys and seek refuge in Bangladesh and other neighboring countries. Government forces retaliated with what they called "clearance operations". "Refugees are now squatting in makeshift shelters that have mushroomed along the road and on available land".

Suu Kyi and her government have claimed that the Rohingya are migrants from Bangladesh who do not deserve citizenship rights, although most have roots in the area that go back generations.

She said her government was looking to implement certain recommendations made last month by a commission led by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The community has been subjected to violence by the Buddhist majority and the Army in Myanmar. "The Rohingya fleeing Myanmar are now stateless refugees, making them even more vulnerable and adding more challenges to the search for solutions", UNHCR added.

In 2015, the Malaysian government accepted Rohingya refugees, cramped in boats for weeks in their desperation to flee their homeland, following the genocide on the ethnic minority group.

India had earlier strongly condemned the terrorist attacks on Myanmar security forces in Rakhine State.

Burning Rohingya homes can make it less likely that they return.

This item has been corrected to show that schoolbooks with text from the Quran, not Qurans, were seen ripped.

Accusations by Rohingyas and rights groups of raping women, torching houses and killing civilians during their operations has been denied by Myanmar and the military. One aid worker, who asked not to be identified because they were not authorised to speak to the media, said "stocks are running out" with the refugees' needs far greater than what they had imagined.

The ministry issued a statement containing his opening remarks at a conference of Pakistani diplomats on Thursday.

Suu Kyi did not refer specifically to the exodus of the minority Rohingya, which was sparked by insurgent attacks on Aug 25 and an army counter-offensive, but said her administration was trying its best to take care of all citizens. "This is a complicated part of the country, and more specifically, a complicated part of Rakhine state itself", he said. To date, she has been silent over the latest violence, except for a call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in which she dubbed the situation "fake news" that had distorted the events with a "huge iceberg of misinformation". Thousands of Rohingyas have sought to flee the fighting to Bangladesh, with almost 30,000 crossing over.

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