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Rohingya Ethnic Group in Myanmar are Targets of Ethnic Cleansing, depicts US Government

The US government stated that abuses directed at the Rohingya ethnic group in Myanmar amount to ethnic cleansing

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Rohingyas
Rohingyas are targets of ethnic cleansing. Wikimedia.

Washington, Nov 23: The US government said on Wednesday that abuses directed at the Rohingya ethnic group in Myanmar amount to ethnic cleansing.

“After a careful and thorough analysis of available facts, it is clear that the situation in northern Rakhine state constitutes ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement, Efe news agency reported.

Despite expressing concern about the plight of the Rohingya, Washington has declined until now to ascribe their suffering to a deliberate campaign of ethnic cleansing.

The statement follows a visit last week to Myanmar by Tillerson, who met with State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and the head of the armed forces, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.

The country’s “government and security forces must respect the human rights of all persons within its borders, and hold accountable those who fail to do so,” the secretary said Wednesday.

“The United States continues to support a credible, independent investigation to further determine all facts on the ground to aid in these processes of accountability,” he said.

More than 600,000 Rohingyas have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since Myanmar launched a military operation against the mainly Muslim minority group following the deaths of a dozen members of the security forces in Aug. 25 attacks by a group calling itself the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.

State Department officials said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters that President Donald Trump’s administration is weighing the idea of imposing sanctions on specific individuals in Myanmar found responsible for what they described as “organised and planned” ethnic cleansing.

Senior officials of Myanmar and Bangladesh began talks Wednesday on a plan to repatriate the roughly 622,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladeshi territory.

In a report presented Tuesday in Bangkok, Amnesty International accused Myanmar of subjecting the Rohingya to a system of “institutional” discrimination tantamount to apartheid. (IANS)

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Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh Get Identity Cards for the First Time

For most of the more than 900,000 Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar, things are about to change for the better

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rohingya refugees
FILE PHOTO: Amir Ali, 75, plays a violin in front of his house in Kutuapalong Rohigya refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Feb. 8, 2019. VOA

Bangladeshi authorities and the U.N. refugee agency have registered more than a quarter million Rohingya refugees and presented them with identity documents that grant them a number of rights and safeguards.

Unlike citizens of a country, stateless people have few rights. They may be deprived of an education, a job or health care. Those who are not registered at birth have no identity. That is the situation for millions of Rohingya who were stripped of their citizenship in neighboring Myanmar in 1982. Many of them are sheltering in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, after fleeing killings and persecution in Myanmar.

Change for better

For most of the more than 900,000 Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, things are about to change for the better. The U.N. refugee agency says the more than 270,000 Rohingya refugees who have completed the registration process have for the first time ever received an identity card.

rohingya refugees
FILE – Rohingya refugees gather at a market inside a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, March 7, 2019. VOA

UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic says the ID card includes a photo and key information, such as name, date of birth and place of birth. It also indicates Myanmar as the country of origin.

“The first and foremost purpose of this registration is humanitarian in order to safeguard their right to return, to regulate their stay and also to make sure that we do not know only how many people there are, that we have a detailed profile which allows us with the more accurate data to deliver far better assistance to this massive refugee population,” Mahecic said.

Mahecic says the UNHCR and Bangladeshi authorities hope to complete the registration process for the entire refugee population by November. He cites a number of benefits associated with having an ID card.

rohingya refugees
Rohingya refugees gather near a fence in the ‘no man’s land’ zone between the Myanmar and Bangladesh border as seen from Maungdaw district, western Myanmar’s Rakhine state, Aug. 24, 2018. Credit: AFP. RFA

ALSO READ: New Skills Training Project- A ‘Game Changer’ for Local Bangladeshi, Rohingya Refugee Women

Target assistance

Mahecic says the data will allow aid agencies to target assistance to people in acute need, including women and children heading families and people with disabilities. With the monsoon season approaching, he says the registration data will help reunite families who are separated during storms.

He notes the refugees are ripe for exploitation by smugglers and traffickers. Mahecic says the ID card will help authorities combat that nefarious trade. (VOA)