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US House passes resolution on ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Rohingyas

| | Washington

The US House of Representatives has condemned the “ethnic cleansing” of Rohingya Muslims and called on Myanmar's leadership to end attacks on minorities in the Rakhine state, in the stiffest congressional criticism of the government in the Buddhist-majority country.

The House passed a resolution yesterday, urging immediate restoration of humanitarian access to the Rakhine state where unrest has forced over 600,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh.

“This slaughter must end, and our resolution ought to send a strong message to Burmese leaders that their commitment to restoring democracy will be judged by their respect for the individual rights and freedoms of all people living within Burma's borders, no matter their faith or ethnicity,” House Democratic Whip Steny H Hoyer said in a statement.                Introduced by Congressmen Joe Crowley and Eliot Engel, the resolution condemns the “horrific actions” of the military and security forces and calls for an immediate cessation of violence.

The resolution also urges the restoration of humanitarian access to the restive Rakhine state .”It also calls for Aung San Suu Kyi (Myanmar's de facto leader) to exercise moral leadership, something that's needed now more than ever,” Engel said in his remarks on the House floor yesterday.

 

“We reject the Army's claims that what's taking place in Burma is a so-called counterterrorism measure — that's nonsense. It's a textbook ethnic cleansing, that's what it is,” Engel said.

“We should also encourage other governments to stay engaged and continue to address the pressing needs of these refugees' needs that will only grow as long as this situation remains unresolved,” he said.Clashes erupted after the  25 deadly attacks by militants on security forces in the Rakhine State, sparking a major army crackdown on the community.

According to the UN estimaes, more than 600,000 members of the minority Muslim group have fled across the border into Bangladesh since then, triggered a grave humanitarian crisis in the country.

“Bangladesh deserves our deep gratitude for opening its doors to the Rohingya at a time when our government slams the door shut,” Engel said.

“The governments of Burma and Bangladesh have struck a deal to begin repatriating Rohingya next month, but it's not yet clear that anyone is interested in returning right now,” he said.

 
 
 
 
 

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