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United Nations appeals for aid as Myanmar refugee exodus nears 300000

United Nations appeals for aid as Myanmar refugee exodus nears 300000

The United Nations' top human rights official on Monday slammed Myanmar for conducting a "cruel military operation" against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state, branding it "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing".

Rohingya refugees walk through a paddy field after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.

More than 300,000 Rohyingya refugees have fled Myanmar as tensions continue to rise in the country.

"This zone is to ensure security, peace, food and protection for the Rohingya people who are facing brutal persecution, and hence, stop them from flocking to Bangladesh", he said.

"The meeting called upon the government of Myanmar to accept the UN Human Rights Council's fact-finding mission to conduct a thorough and independent investigation into all alleged violations of worldwide human rights law and to bring the perpetrators to justice", said the statement.

Attacks by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) militants on police posts and an army base in the northwestern state of Rakhine on August 25 provoked a military counter-offensive.

"This act would also be in contradiction with the principle of "Non-Refoulement", which has been widely recognised as a principle of Customary International Law", the plea said, while seeking a direction to the government not to deport them and other members of Rohingya community.

Rohingya militants, who sparked an army crackdown in Myanmar that has seen almost 300,000 Rohingya flee to Bangladesh, on Sunday declared a unilateral ceasefire to allow aid to reach the increasingly desperate refugees.

The predominantly Buddhist country's treatment of the Rohingya has always been a point of contention and attacks on the Muslim minority have been reported for months prior to the recent intensification.

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Myanmar's government has blamed Rohingya militants for the atrocities, including firebombing their own villages and killing civilians suspected of collaborating with the army.

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

Thousands of Rohingya refugees are still stranded on the Myanmar side of the River Naf, which separates the two countries, with the biggest gathering south of the town of Maungdaw, monitors and sources in the area told Reuters. Many are still trying to cross mountains, dense bush and rice fields to reach Bangladesh.

About a dozen Muslim villages were burned down on Friday and Saturday in the ethnically mixed Rathedaung region of Rakhine, two sources monitoring the situation said.

"I will try to find money here".

"My investigation suggests the possibility that crimes against humanity may have been committed, which can only be confirmed by a subsequent criminal investigation", Zeid said, urging the council to set up an worldwide investigation into rights violations in Venezuela.

One uncle in Rakhine state had died of complications from diabetes three months ago, Ahmed said, because security forces wouldn't let him travel to see a doctor.

Amina Sadek came from Montreal, and said that even though she wasn't of Rohingya ancestry, it was important to speak out for her fellow Muslims.

Authorities say the mob was dispersed after police with riot shields fired rubber bullets.

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