Almost 300 Rohingya villages torched in Myanmar: HRW

Almost 300 Rohingya villages torched in Myanmar: HRW

They have long faced discrimination and persecution with many Buddhists in Myanmar calling them "Bengalis" and saying they migrated illegally from Bangladesh, even though they have lived in the country for generations.

Almost 14,000 children who have lost one or both parents are among the more than half a million Rohingya refugees who crossed in Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar, an official said today.

More than 580,000 refugees have arrived in Bangladesh since August 25, when Myanmar security forces began a scorched-earth campaign against Rohingya villages.

The continuing exodus of Rohingya Muslims has become a major humanitarian crisis and sparked global condemnation of Buddhist-majority Myanmar, which still denies atrocities are taking place.

Feltman visited several communities affected by the recent violence in northern Rakhine state by air.

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The government of Myanmar (also called Burma) has claimed that insurgents and the Rohingya themselves have been responsible for the fires - but has offered no evidence to support the claims.

Amnesty International this morning warned that there has been a campaign of "crimes against humanity" against the minority.

He said satellite imagery, corroborated by witness accounts, show that Rohingya homes and mosques have been burned entirely in villages, while non-Rohingya areas just one or two hundred yards (meters) away were untouched.

An overcrowded boat carrying Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar capsized Monday in the Bay of Bengal near a Bangladeshi fishing village, killing 12 people, including six children, police said.

Footage shows the line of refugees stretching for many kilometres.

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The United States is watching the humanitarian disaster unfolding inside Myanmar and will not be silent in the face of mounting atrocities, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday.

The new wave of refugees started crossing the border over the weekend, witnesses said.

UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado told reporters in Geneva that nearly 60 per cent of the refugees who have fled Myanmar since August 25 are children.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein has called the situation "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing", but he has not used the word genocide.

Bangladesh and humanitarian agencies have been struggling to accommodate and provide basic services for the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who fled northern Rakhine during a military crackdown following deadly attacks on 30 police posts and an army facility on August 25.

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