Myanmar Sends Team To Bangladesh To Discuss Rohingya

January 10, 2017 – Myanmar today said that it has sent a special diplomatic team to Bangladesh to discuss thousands of its nationals Dhaka claims have fled across the border to escape continuing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

Scores of Rohingya Muslims have been fleeing to Bangladesh since Myanmar’s military launched a crackdown Oct. 9 when a gang killed nine border police officials in an area close to the country’s western border with Bangladesh.

Kyaw Zeya, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) director general, told local newspaper the Voice Daily that the diplomatic team would leave Tuesday for a three-day visit to Bangladesh.

“The team will discuss with Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister of Bangladesh about the situation in Rakhine State… And to discuss how the two countries should cooperate to resolve the issues,” he was quoted as saying.

The United Nations said late Monday that at least 65,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled from Rakhine to Bangladesh since the crackdown’s launch — with 22,000 of them reportedly crossing the border over the past week.

“As of 5 January, an estimated 65,000 people are residing in registered camps, makeshift settlements and host communities in Cox’s Bazaar,” the UN’s Office for Coordination of Human Affairs said in its weekly report.

Aid agencies and independent journalists have been denied access to north Rakhine since Oct. 9, and at least 101 people — 17 police and soldiers, eight Muslim men working closely with the local authority, and 76 alleged “attackers” (including six who reportedly died during interrogation) — have now been killed.

More than 600 people have also been detained for alleged involvement in the attacks.

Rohingya advocacy groups, however, claim around 400 Rohingya — described by the UN as among the most persecuted groups worldwide — were killed in the military operations, women were raped and more than 1,000 Rohingya villages torched.

The diplomatic team’s visit to Bangladesh also comes after Myanmar has claimed that “nationals from a neighboring country” provided training to those involved in the Oct. 9 attacks.

Bangladesh has demanded Myanmar take back around 300,000 of its “nationals” that have been in Bangladesh for years, many of them living in refugee camps in the Cox’s Bazar area.

Complicating the issue is that Myanmar does not categorize Rohingya as its citizens, instead referring to them as “Bengali” — which suggests they are stateless interlopers from their neighbor.

Most of those who have fled are understood to be Rohingya.


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