MOSCOW (Sputnik) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Hussein said on Monday that Myanmar authorities' operation against Rohingya Muslims in the country's state of Rakhine in recent weeks could be regarded as ethnic cleansing.
"Because Myanmar has refused access to human rights investigators, the current situation cannot yet be fully assessed, but the situation seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing," Hussein said.
According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), over 270,000 people have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh in less than three weeks, three times more than the 87,000 who fled the country during the previous operation.
"Many more people reportedly remain trapped between Myanmar and Bangladesh. The operation, which is ostensibly in reaction to attacks by militants on 25 August against 30 police posts, is clearly disproportionate and without regard for basic principles of international law," the commissioner added.
In late August, Muslim Rohingya insurgents attacked security posts in the state of Rakhine. The attacks prompted a response by Myanmar’s authorities, resulting in clashes and deaths of hundreds of people and forcing thousands of others to flee.
Representatives of the indigenous nationalities of Myanmar have said they consider the Rohingya people, who were relocated to Rakhine from Bengal by British colonial authorities in the 19th century, illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
According to the Inter Sector Coordination Group, more than 313,000 refugees from the Rohingya ethnic group fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh since the recent escalation of tensions in Myanmar's state of Rakhine.
The number of refugees from Myanmar after the conflict escalated reached 313,413, bringing the total number of refugees to over 510,000, as there had been thousands of Rohingyas in Bangladesh before August.
The group reported that it had registered about 156,000 arrivals in makeshift camps, about 90,000 in host communities, while 67,000 people arrived at new sites.
The nationalist organizations of Myanmar's indigenous peoples, whose stance is popular in the country, have demanded that all illegal migrants, especially Muslims, be expelled from Myanmar.