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Myanmar under international pressure to resolve Rohingya situation

US and Bangladesh call for an end to Myanmar violence.

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Myanmar under international pressure to resolve Rohingya situation

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Pressure is mounting on Myanmar to end the violence that has sent around 370,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh.

The US is calling for the protection of civilians.

Washington says the violent displacement of the Rohingya shows Myanmar’s security forces are not protecting civilians.

The US has been a staunch supporter of Myanmar’s transition from decades of harsh military rule that is being led by Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

What is Bangladesh saying?

Dhaka is urging for safe zones to be established to enable refugees to go home.

The exodus to Bangladesh shows no sign of slowing. The UN’s latest estimate is that 370,000 people have arrived over the border, up from 313,000 at the weekend.

Bangladesh was already home to around 400,000 Rohingyas.

Has the UN said anything?

Yes. On Monday, the top UN human rights official denounced Myanmar for conducting a “cruel military operation” against Rohingya, branding it a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

What is Myanmar saying in response?

There has been no immediate comment available. However, the foreign ministry said shortly before the US statement was issued that Myanmar was also concerned about the suffering.

Its forces were carrying out their legitimate duty to restore order in response to acts of extremism.

Is there any support for Myanmar?

Yes, China. Beijing says it backs Myanmar’s efforts to safeguard “development and stability”.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, “The international community should support Myanmar in its efforts to safeguard development and stability.”

What is happening in Myanmar?

The government of the Buddhist-majority country says its security forces are fighting Rohingya militants behind a surge of violence in Rakhine state.

Officials say they are doing all they can to avoid harming civilians in the conflict, which broke out on August 25.

Attacks by a Rohingya insurgent group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on police posts and an army base in the north of Rakhine on August 25 provoked the military counter-offensive that refugees say is aimed at pushing the Rohingya out of the country.

Reports from refugees and rights groups paint a picture of widespread attacks on Rohingya villages in the north of Rakhine by the security forces and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists.

The Myanmar authorities have denied the security forces or Buddhist civilians are behind the violence and have blamed the insurgents.

They say nearly 30,000 Buddhist villagers have been displaced.

Myanmar has rejected a ceasefire declared by ARSA to enable the delivery of aid there, saying it did not negotiate with terrorists.

Is this the first time it has happened?

No. A similar but smaller wave of attacks by the same insurgents last October also sparked what critics called a heavy-handed response by the security forces that sent 87,000 Rohingyas fleeing to Bangladesh.

Has anyone been killed?

Yes. Around 400 people, according to the government.

What they are saying

“We call on Burmese security authorities to respect the rule of law, stop the violence and end the displacement of civilians from all communities,” – White House statement.

“The government of Myanmar fully shares the concern of the international community regarding the displacement and suffering of all communities affected by the latest escalation of violence ignited by the acts of terrorism,” – the Myanmar ministry said in a statement.

“Myanmar will have to take back all Rohingya refugees who entered Bangladesh,” – Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina says Myanmar should set up safe zones to enable the refugees to go home.