Rohingya Muslim refugees flee ethnic cleansing in Myanmar

Rohingya Muslim refugees flee ethnic cleansing in Myanmar
By Keith WalkerJanis Mackey Frayer with REUTERS
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Rohingya Muslim refugees flee ethnic cleansing in Myanmar


Hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingyas have fled a brutal government crackdown in Myanmar. Many have lost their lives trying to escape.

They are desperate to flee an offensive by Myanmar’s all-powerful army, which wants to force the minority-Muslim group from the mainly Buddhist country. The United Nations calls the crackdown “textbook ethnic cleansing.”

The lucky ones have made it to neighbouring Bangladesh to what is fast becoming one of the world’s largest refugee camps.

This humanitarian crisis of epic proportions can only deepen. Thousands more arrive every day. The camp’s refugee population could hit one million.

Inside the camp, people are suffering: malnutrition, a lack of clean water, and poor sanitation make it vulnerable to disease.

Doctors say the conditions provide the perfect storm for the development of a cholera epidemic.

Bangladeshi border guards have been unable to stop the waves of refugees flooding the camp.

World leaders are still talking about how to punish Myanmar’s army, and the country’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who won a Nobel Peace Prize as a champion of democracy.

Suu Kyi has faced scathing international criticism and dismay for not doing more to stop the violence, although she has no power over the security forces under a military-drafted constitution.

The United States and Britain have warned Myanmar the crisis is putting at risk the progress it has made since the military began to loosen its grip on power in 2011.

The European Union and the United States are considering targeted sanctions against Myanmar military leaders over the violence, officials familiar with the discussions say.

NBC’s Janis Mackey Frayer and Reuters contributed to this report.


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