UN fears further exodus of Muslim Rohingya from Myanmar

Some 515,0000 refugees have fled to Bangladesh during 6 weeks of violence

The United Nations braced on Friday for a possible further exodus of Muslim Rohingya refugees from Myanmar into Bangladesh six weeks after the world’s fastest-developing refugee emergency began.

Around 515,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh from Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine in an unrelenting movement of people that began after Myanmar security forces responded to Rohingya militant attacks with a brutal crackdown.

The UN has denounced the Myanmar military offensive as ethnic cleansing, but Myanmar insists its forces are fighting “terrorists” who have killed civilians and burned villages.

Rights groups say more than 200 Rohingya villages in the north of Rakhine state have been torched in a campaign by the security forces and Buddhist vigilantes to drive out Muslims.

UN humanitarian relief chief Mark Lowcock reiterated an appeal for access to the population in northern Rakhine, saying the situation was “unacceptable.”

Buddhist-majority Myanmar has blocked most access to the area, although some agencies have offices open in towns there and the International Committee of the Red Cross is helping the Myanmar Red Cross to deliver aid.4

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