Rohingya refugees tell of new violence; call for Myanmar sanctions

India's Supreme Court was hearing a petition filed on behalf of two Rohingya refugees challenging a government decision to deport the ethnic group from India.

"We will make sure that everybody who left their home can return to their home but this is a process we have to discuss", Myanmar national security adviser Thaung Tun told Reuters on Monday after a ministerial meeting on the crisis hosted by Britain on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

It submitted that as a sovereign nation, its first and foremost constitutional duty towards its citizens would be to ensure that the "demographic and social structure of the country is not changed to their detriment", and that resources of the nation are used to fulfil their fundamental rights and not diverted.

An estimated 400,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh, a humanitarian crisis that has quickly garnered worldwide concern.

Besides repeatedly disabling his accounts, an activist who uses the name Rahim said Facebook has also removed individual posts he put on the site about Rohingya refugees.

But Barua, the businessman, said the Rohingya were "uneducated people" and expressed anger that their plight had brought difficulties to his community.

"When military and police surrounded our village and attacked us with rocket launchers to set fire, we got away from our village and fled away to any direction we could manage", Abdul Goffar said.

The Rakhine deny harassing their Muslim neighbors, but want them to leave, fearing they might collaborate with militants from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), which carried out the August 25 attacks. Refugee Rudra, a barber from Myanmar's Thit Tone Nar Gwa Son village, showed Reuters what he said was a temporary citizenship card issued in 1978 by the authorities there.

It also contended that since they were refugees from another country, they had no rights under the Indian constitution. "But locals drove us out asking for money to settle us down", said Yusuf Majhi, a Rohingya community leader.

"But I want to tell them that the non-refoulement principle is applicable to those who take asylum".

He was also asked why Myanmar considers them outsiders when generations of Rohingyas have been living in the country.

The Rohingya residents of Ah Nauk Pyin say they have no other choice but to stay, and their fraught relations with equally edgy Rakhine neighbors could snap at any moment. "That is why we should not commit the mistake of according the status of illegal immigrants as refugees in the name of human rights", he said.

Human rights group Amnesty International has blamed Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and the country's government for "burying their heads in the sand over the horrors unfolding in Rakhine State".

"People are still at risk of being attacked or killed, humanitarian aid is not reaching the people who need it, and innocent civilians are still fleeing across the border to Bangladesh", Haley said after Britain hosted a meeting on the crisis in NY on Monday.

Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar's Rakhine State have been subject to a coordinated campaign of horrific violence at the hands of the military and Buddhist mobs since late previous year, when the military laid siege to Rakhine. It seemed a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing", United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said.

  • Santos West