Condemning violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state, United Nations chief urges restraint

On Friday, Bangladeshi border guards found the bodies of at least 15 Rohingya Muslims, including 11 children, floating in the river. In total, 14 people survived, but "young children and those women couldn't swim and they couldn't be saved", she said, looking over the bodies lined up on the beach.

Haji Abdul Malek, a leader in Kanjarpara village, said some 3,000 Rohingyas entered Bangladesh through Kanjarpara point of the Naf River on Wednesday and Thursday night.

Marma told Xinhua that a search operation was still underway for the missing people.

"Shuffling all the blame on insurgents doesn't spare the Burmese government from its worldwide obligations to stop abuses and investigate alleged violations", said Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch's Asia director, in a statement.

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear on Monday a plea challenging the decision to deport illegal Rohingya Muslim immigrants back to Myanmar, on various grounds including that it violated global human rights conventions.

A petition was filed on behalf of two Rohingya men who live in Delhi after fleeing their village in Myanmar's Rakhine State. Tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees are believed to be stuck at the border to Bangladesh. "We are deeply saddened at the loss of lives among members of the Myanmar security forces..."

Hundreds of people have been stranded in a no man's land at the countries' border, the International Organization for Migration said.

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"The anti-Muslim violence of 2012, and the emergence of the new insurgent group a year ago were both clear signals that the volatile dynamics of Rakhine state urgently need a political, not just a security, response to address the concerns of all communities in the state".

The insurgents, who posts statements through a Twitter account, changed their name to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army - Arakan is another word for the Rakhine region.

Bangladesh, which is already host to more than 400,000 Rohingya said it will not accept any more refugees, despite an appeal by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for Dhaka to allow Rohingya to seek safety. The United States urged Myanmar's military to protect civilians, while Yanghee Lee, the UN's special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, expressed fears that "grave violations" could take place.

"If human rights concerns are not properly addressed, and if people remain politically and economically marginalized, then northern Rakhine may provide fertile ground for radicalization, with people becoming increasingly vulnerable to recruitment by extremists", she said. In 2015, the Malaysian government told the Rohingya to go back to their country.

Both sides accuse the other of atrocities as tens of thousands of Rohingya flee to Bangladesh.

Over the a year ago, the Rohingya problem has shown every sign of worsening.

An AFP reporter on a government-led trip to Maungdaw this week saw columns of smoke rising from several burning villages, while terrified Buddhist and Hindu civilians huddled in schools in the main town.

  • Adam Floyd