United Nations warns of 'ethnic cleansing' of Myanmar's Muslims

A man prepares food for Rohingya refugees in the Bangladeshi city of Teknaf

Over 300,000 Rohingya have now fled into Bangladesh in recent weeks, straining the camps along the border.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina lambasted Myanmar for "atrocities" that she said had reached a level beyond description.

Myanmar using landmines to harm fleeing Rohingya: Meanwhile, Amnesty International and Bangladeshi officials have slammed Myanmar's military for using landmines against the Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence at home, causing numerous refugees to sustain serious injures or lose their body organs.

Amnesty said, based on interviews with eyewitnesses and analyses by weapons experts, there was "targeted use of landmines" along a narrow stretch of the northwestern border of Rakhine State that is a crossing point from Myanmar to Bangladesh for fleeing Rohingya Muslims.

The UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar has said the latest violence may have left more than 1,000 dead, majority Rohingya. The United States said it was deeply troubled by the violence, and Germany halted several aid projects in Myanmar in protest.

At least 313,000 Rohingya have arrived since August 25, when Rohingya insurgents attacked police posts, prompting Myanmar's military to retaliate with what it called "clearance operations" to root out the rebels. "We are alarmed by the allegations of human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, burning of villages, massacres, and rape, by security forces and by civilians acting with these forces' consent".

Noting that Myanmar had stripped Rohingyas of a wide range of rights, including citizenship, since 1962, the United Nations human rights chief took aim at official statements suggesting that refugees who had fled the violence would only be allowed back if they provide proof of nationality.

The UN refugee agency says at least 313,000 Rohingya have now arrived in Bangladesh from Rakhine State since August 25, about a third of the total population of 1.1 million.

Ordinary Bangladeshi citizens have turned out in droves to volunteer in a kitchen that provides hot meals to Rohingya refugees
Ordinary Bangladeshi citizens have turned out in droves to volunteer in a kitchen that provides hot meals to Rohingya refugees

Dhaka, which initially tried to block the Rohingya from entering, said Monday that it would start registering all new arrivals.

"The two refugees camps we are in are beyond overcrowded", said United Nations refugee agency spokeswoman Vivian Tan.

Hasina was expected to visit the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox's Bazar district on Tuesday.

The wave of hungry and traumatized refugees pouring into Bangladesh has strained aid agencies and local communities already helping hundreds of thousands displaced by previous waves of violence in Myanmar. The UN has evacuated non-critical staff from the area over the past two weeks.

The government had invited the Red Cross to assist them, he said. The Myanmar military this past week also rebuffed a supposed month-long ceasefire offered by Rohingya militants.

Supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami, a Pakistani religious group, chant slogans during a rally to condemn ongoing violence against the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar.

Rohingya have faced decades of discrimination and persecution in Myanmar and are denied citizenship despite centuries-olds roots in the Rakhine region.

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