INTERNATIONAL

A textbook example of ethnic cleansing: UN rights head

The situation in Myanmar is a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”, the United Nations rights chief said on Monday, as the number of Rohingya Muslims fleeing the country for Bangladesh topped 3,00,000.

The UN warning came as it emerged the Dalai Lama had written to Aung San Suu Kyi urging her to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein accused Myanmar of waging a “systematic attack” on the Rohingya and warned that “ethnic cleansing” seemed to be under way.

“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,” he told the UN Human Rights Council.

Ms. Suu Kyi has come in for strong international criticism over the military crackdown on the Rohingya, which began when militants ambushed security forces on August 25.

The UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar has said the latest violence may have left more than 1,000 dead, most of them Rohingya.

A further 27,000 ethnic Rakhine Buddhists as well as Hindus have also fled violence that has gripped northern Rakhine, where international aid programmes have been severely curtailed.

Dalai Lama’s appeal

On Monday it emerged that the Dalai Lama had joined fellow Nobel peace laureates Malala Yousafzai and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in urging Ms. Suu Kyi to intervene.

“Questions that are put to me suggest that many people have difficulty reconciling what appears to be happening to Muslims there with Myanmar’s reputation as a Buddhist country,” the Tibetan spiritual leader wrote in a letter to Ms. Suu Kyi shortly after the latest fighting broke out.

“I appeal to you and your fellow leaders to reach out to all sections of society to try to restore friendly relations throughout the population in a spirit of peace and reconciliation.”

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