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Myanmar waging 'ethnic cleansing' against Rohingya Muslim: HRW

Myanmar waging ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslim: HRW

Bangkok: Myanmar has waged a campaign of "ethnic cleansing" against Rohingya Muslims, a leading human rights group today said, appealing to India to press its eastern neighbour to put an immediate stop to the abuses.

"Burmese authorities and members of Arakanese groups have committed crimes against humanity in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State since June 2012," Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.

The 153-page report titled "'All You Can Do is Pray': Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Burma's Arakan State" describes the role of the Burmese government and local authorities in the forcible displacement of more than 125,000 Rohingya and other Muslims.

"The Burmese government engaged in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya that continues today through the denial of aid and restrictions on movement," said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at the HRW.

"Now that it is clear that crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing are being perpetrated in Arakan state, New Delhi must press upon the Burmese government to put an immediate stop to the abuses against the Rohingya and hold the perpetrators accountable," Meenakshi Ganguly, HRW South Asia director, said in a statement.

Ganguly also urged India to ask Myanmar to "amend the Citizenship Act to eliminate discriminatory provisions that have placed the Rohingya at risk of becoming stateless".

The HRW said that following sectarian violence between Arakanese and Rohingya in June 2012, government authorities destroyed mosques, conducted violent mass arrests, and blocked aid to displaced Muslims.

The "mobs attacked Muslim communities in nine townships, razing villages and killing residents while security forces stood aside or assisted the assailants," it alleged.

The rights group said it has uncovered evidence of four mass-grave sites in Arakan State – three dating from the immediate aftermath of the June violence and one from the October violence.

"Security forces actively impeded accountability and justice by digging mass graves to destroy evidence of crimes," the HRW accused.

"The government needs to put an immediate stop to the abuses and hold the perpetrators accountable or it will be responsible for further violence against ethnic and religious minorities in the country," Robertson warned in a statement.

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