United Nations says Myanmar likely carried out 'acts of genocide' against Rohingya Muslims

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Close to one million refugees from the persecuted Muslim minority live in squalid camps in Cox's Bazar, having fled successive waves of violence in Myanmar's westernmost region.

A SENIOR United Nations official has described "terror and forced starvation" as evidence of ongoing ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State, Burma (Myanmar). There, they have been recounting the horrific violence they were exposed to back in Rakhine, which the government has blockaded.

The Rohingya immigrants, who fled to India after violence in the Western Rakhine state of Myanmar, have settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan.

According to the witness accounts, soldiers and Buddhist mobs have been murdering and raping the Rohingya, and torching their villages.

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He said the Centre and Tamil Nadu had reached an understanding that Sri Lankan refugees would "have access to at least education and healthcare, which Rohingya refugees are being denied". Satellite imagery obtained by rights groups have shown entire villages bulldozed in what seems to be an attempt at destroying crime scenes.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, in a speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council, also said that reports of bulldozing of mass graves in Myanmar showed a "deliberate attempt by the authorities to destroy evidence of potential global crimes, including possible crimes against humanity".

"I don't think we can draw any other conclusion from what I have seen and heard in Cox's Bazar", referring to the Bangladesh district that is home to most of the refugees.

"It appears that widespread and systematic violence against the Rohingya persists", Gilmour said in a statement issued after his visit to refugee camps in Bangladesh.

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A top United Nations official believes that conditions are not ripe for Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh to return to their homes in Myanmar, said the chief United Nations spokesman on Tuesday.

Despite Myanmar saying it was ready to accept back refugees under an pact signed with Bangladesh in November, he added, "Safe, dignified and sustainable returns are, of course, impossible under current conditions".

Doctors Without Borders (known by its French acronym, MSF) has estimated that at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in the first month of the crackdown alone.

The Tatmadaw army of Burma stands accused of mass killings, rape and arson in Muslim villages as part of "clearing operations" in response to an attack by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on military and police outposts on Aug 25 previous year.

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