13 Sep
  • By James Evans

Myanmar “A textbook example of ethnic cleansing”

The U.N Human Rights chief Zeid Raad Al Hussein has heavily criticised the ‘brutal security operation’ currently going on against Rohingya in the Rakhine state, which he noted was “clearly disproportionate” to militia attacks carried out last month which sparked the conflict.

Since the violence erupted last month an estimated 310,000 people have fled the region to Bangladesh, with many more trapped on the border. Reports abound of extrajudicial killings and the burning of villages by government forces and Buddhist vigilantes.

Smoke rises from a burned house in Gawdu Zara village, northern Rakhine state, Myanmar Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. Journalists saw new fires burning Thursday in the Myanmar village that had been abandoned by Rohingya Muslims, and where pages from Islamic texts were seen ripped and left on the ground. (AP Photo)

(HRW “Lawful operations against armed groups do not involve burning the local population out of their homes”)

Mr Zeid went on to say that “The situation seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” The Dalai Lama has also condemned the violence and tried to remind the country of Buddha. Bangladesh’s foreign minister accused the Burmese government of committing genocide against the Rohingya. He also told diplomats that the estimated death toll is now 3000 people.

Fighting began a month ago when some Rohingya militant group attacked more than a dozen security sites and killed 12 people. Myanmar’s de facto civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been totally silent on the issue. Her silence has been heavily criticized.

The Rohingya are a stateless Muslim minority that live in Myanmar. Many claim that despite the Buddhist ethos of the country, the Rohingya have been persecuted for years and have regarded them, despite plenty of evidence as being illegal migrants from Bangladesh and has constantly restricted their citizenship rights and access to government services.


(Aung San Suu Kyi has yet to address her country’s ethnic cleansing approach against the Rohingya.)

Aid agencies in the area are stretched to breaking point trying to deal with the influx of wounded and sick refugees, while the Bangladesh government has noted the event is now a national issue.

One piece of evidence that seems to back up what the international community is saying is that Myanmar refused to allow Human rights investigators from the UN into the country. Similarly, Myanmar refused a proposed ceasefire to allow aid to get into the region.


“UN: Myanmar’s treatment of Rohingya ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing’” The Guardian, 2017.

“Rohingya take to the sea in search of safety in Bangladesh” The United Nations News, 2017

“U.N. brands Myanmar violence a ‘textbook’ example of ethnic cleansing” Reuters, 2017.

“Rohingya crisis: UN sees ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Myanmar” BBC News, 2017.