Published On: Tue, Sep 12th, 2017

Myanmar map: Where is Myanmar? What is happening there? | World | News

At least 370,000 Muslims of Rohingya descent have been forced to flee Myanmar amid fears of a Government-sanctioned genocide.

On Monday, the country was accused by a top UN watchdog of conducting an ethnic cleansing on its own people.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, said that the Asian nation was conducting “gross human rights violations”.

He said in a condemning statement: “Because Myanmar has refused access to human rights investigators the current situation cannot yet be fully assessed, but the situation seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.

“The Myanmar Government should stop claiming that the Rohingyas are setting fire to their own homes and laying waste to their own villages.”

Mr Al Hussein went on to call on the Myanmar Government to cease its “cruel” military operations and to account for its violations.

Where is Myanmar?

The Republic of the Union of Myanmar – formerly known as Burma – is a small nation located in southeast Asia, on the border of Thailand, Laos, China and Bangladesh.

According to a 2014 census, the country has a population of over 51 million people.

The country is officially a Buddhist state, but with 135 recognised ethnic minorities, it boasts a big religious diversity as well.

Based on the 2014 census, over two million of Myanmar’s residents identified as Muslims.

Myanmar has a total area of 262,000 square miles (678,500 km2) and consists of 14 stets and regions.

Myanmar map: Map of BurmaGETTY

Myanmar map: Formerly known as Burma, the country borders Thailand and Bangladesh

Where are the Rohingya located?

Many of Burma’s indigenous Muslims live in Rakhine State, on the western coast next to the border with Bangladesh.

Rohingya are however considered to be stateless, because the Myanmar Government officially considers the ethnic minority to be illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.

The persecution has forced nearly one million Rohingya to flee into Bangladesh since 1977, with many more seeking refuge in other countries.

Other Muslim countries have opened their doors to the refugees, with some choosing to flee to India, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Addressing the human rights violations on Tuesday, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged Myanmar to address the refugee crisis.

“Myanmar will have to take back all Rohingya refugees who entered Bangladesh,” she said, adding: “We want peaceful relations with our neighbours, but we can’t accept any injustice.

“Stop this violence against innocent people.”


The situation seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights


What is happening in Myanmar?

An attack carried out on a police outpost on August 25 by the insurgent Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, has led to a bloody crackdown on the ethnic group.

More than 100 Rohingya Muslims, including women and children, were allegedly slaughtered by Burmese forces in response.

The violent crackdown kicked off after a series of similar insurgent attacks in October 2016, but the persecution of Muslims can be traced back to Burma gaining independence in the late 1940s.

Myanmar: Rohingya genocide protestGETTY

Myanmar’s Government is accused of ‘ethnic cleansing” against the Rohingya

The Burmese Government has since been systematically accused of violating human rights and committing crimes against the religious minority.

However Myanmar has maintained that its military operations are carried out to restore stability and fight Rohingya terrorists.

“The government of Myanmar fully shares the concern of the international community regarding the displacement and suffering of all communities affected by the latest escalation of violence ignited by the acts of terrorism,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement this week.

Reports of Government forces and Buddhist vigilantes setting fires to Rohingya property have also been widely denied by authorities.

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