Turkey's Erdogan calls killing of Rohingya in Myanmar genocide

Saul Bowman
September 2, 2017

The two-day visit comes as renewed violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state forces thousands of Rohingya Muslims to seek refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh, with many drowning as they attempt to cross the border river in makeshift boats.

Omar says he is a foot soldier with the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), which claims it was behind last month's surprise attacks that killed 11 Myanmar officers and sparked the worst fighting seen in Rakhine in months.

Most of Myanmar's estimated 1 million Rohingya live in northern Rakhine state.

When asked about Rohingya Muslims staying in India, New Delhi also said there was no change in its refugee policy but made it clear it will continue to follow its policy to deal with illegal immigrants.

The violence marks a dramatic escalation of a conflict that has simmered since October, when a similar, but much smaller, series of Rohingya attacks on security posts prompted a fierce military response dogged by allegations of human rights abuses.

"Good relations between Myanmar and Bangladesh will contribute greatly to solve the situation in the Rakhine State", Retno said.

He and thousands of terrified villagers gathered at the Kyee Hnoke Thee village at the foot of the Mayu mountain range. But Rohingya allege that security forces are indulging in arson and killings to force them to flee.

"I am waiting for all of my relatives to leave together with my family as soon as possible", said Abdullah.

The Naf river is narrow in some places, but the Rohingya are increasingly crossing where the river is wider, or even venturing out to sea, after Bangladeshi authorities intensified border patrols.

Last year, scores of Rohingya were killed and tens of thousands forced to flee to Bangladesh after a major military operation was launched against them.

India's Supreme Court has agreed to hear a plea challenging a government decision to deport all Rohingya Muslims living in the country after fleeing persecution in Myanmar.

As many as 27,000 of the displaced people crossed the Bangladeshi border to camps in areas around Cox's Bazar, while a further 20,000 are in no-man's land between the two countries.

"The worsening cycle of violence is of grave concern and must be broken urgently", said the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, in a news release issued on Thursday from the Office of UN High Commissioners for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Erdogan, with his roots in political Islam, has long strived to take a position of leadership among the world's Muslim community.

The UN Security Council on Wednesday discussed the violence in Myanmar though there was no formal statement from the 15-member council following the closed-door meeting.

Samira and others fled violence unleashed after Rohingya insurgents wielding sticks, knives and crude bombs attacked police posts and an army base on Friday, leading to clashes that have killed at least 117 people.

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