Saturday, December 16, 2017
Text Size

Site Search powered by Ajax

US: Myanmar attacks on Rohingya 'ethnic cleansing'

Rex Tillerson accuses Myanmar's security forces of perpetrating 'horrendous atrocities' against the Muslim minority.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

The United States has for the first time called Myanmar's campaign against the Rohingya "ethnic cleansing", saying specific sanctions against those responsible are being considered.

The comments were made on Wednesday by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who, last week, visited Myanmar, where a fierce military crackdown has sent more than half a million Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh since August.

"These abuses by some among the Burmese military, security forces, and local vigilantes have caused tremendous suffering and forced hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children to flee their homes in Burma to seek refuge in Bangladesh," Tillerson said in a statement, using an alternative name for the country.

The United Nations has also described the military's actions against the persecuted minority as a textbook case of "ethnic cleansing".


Myanmar's army began its violent campaign against the Rohingya in late August, following a series of alleged attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army military posts in Rakhine state.

Fleeing Rohingya refugees accused the security forces of responding with a campaign of arson and murder in a bid to force them out of Myanmar. These allegations are supported by rights groups monitoring the situation.

"Those responsible for these atrocities must be held accountable," Tillerson said of the violence.

US legislators proposed specific sanctions and travel restrictions on military officials in early November.

Myanmar is a majority Buddhist nation, with Christian, Hindu and Muslim minority populations. The Rohingya are predominately Muslim.

Described as the "world's most persecuted minority", the Rohingya have suffered decades of discrimination and abuse at the hands of Myanmar's army, and have been denied citizenship since 1982.

Aung San Suu Kyi, state counsellor and de facto leader of Myanmar, came to power in 2015 following decades of nonviolent struggle against the country's army. 

But Aung San Suu Kyi, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, has also been criticised for neither condemning nor taking steps to halt the military violence against the Rohingya minority.

The Rohingya are not among Myanmar's 135 state-recognised ethnic groups.

Aung San Suu Kyi and others refuse to refer to them as "Rohingya", instead calling them "Bengali", a term which suggests they are foreigners.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe via RSS or Email:

MSF: More than 6,700 Rohingya kille...

Read More

Virtual reality 360 film shows Rohi...

Read More

Army's rape of Rohingya women sweep...

Read More

Rahul Gandhi: The rise of Gandhi fa...

Read More

US Jerusalem move: Fury spreads fro...

Read More

Nepal election: Leftist alliance se...

Read More


Demonstrations against US recognition of Jerusalem turn deadly as Israeli troops open fire in Gaza and West Bank.

Read More


Thanks to all of our supporters for your generosity and your encouragement of an independent press!

Enter Amount:



Login reminder Forgot login?

Subscribe to MWC News Alert

Email Address

Subscribe in a reader Facebok page Twitter page

Week in Pictures

From snowfall to sunshine

Palestinians hold 'day of rage'