Published: Mon, February 06, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Malaysia seeks clarification from Bangladesh on decision to prevent humanitarian mission

"I did speak to Aung San Suu Kyi about an hour and a half ago", the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said, also in Geneva.

Zeid called on the global community for a robust mechanism to address such violence.

Testimonies point to a "persecution on ethnic grounds which is similar to what has been, in other contexts, described as "ethnic cleansing"," United Nations mission leader Linnea Arvidsson told reporters in Geneva.

Al-Bar expressed his hope that the Myanmar government facilitate the distribution process of the aid, allow the ship's relief teams to enter Rakhine's affected areas, and enable journalists and media personnel to report the true reality of the situations. The report includes first-hand accounts of the "killing of babies, toddlers, children, women and elderly; opening fire at people fleeing; burning of entire villages; massive detention; massive and systematic rape and sexual violence; deliberate destruction of food and sources of food".

Wisma Putra on Saturday confirmed that the ship was given the green light by Bangladesh to dock at Teknaf port, the area closest to some 65,000 Rohingya refugees who had fled from Myanmar since October past year. Many other interviewees reported witnessing killings, including of family members and having family who were missing.

"I am not going to go now into the extent to which she should have done more or less", Zeid said.

Presidential spokesperson Zaw Htay said: "These are extremely serious allegations and we are deeply concerned".

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Myanmar is a mostly Buddhist country that has previously denied nearly all allegations of human rights abuses against its Muslim minority in northern Rakhine, claiming instead that a lawful counterinsurgency campaign is under way. Plans to deliver the remainder to Rakhine state, where the Rohingya are located, and across the border in Bangladesh, appeared blocked.

In Yangon, the spokesman for President Htin Kyaw's office, said the government had not yet seen the report.

The report's authors said most of the people interviewed accused the security forces, not civilians, of the crimes. It insists strife in Rakhine State, where many Rohingya live, is an internal matter.

The flotilla, carrying 2,200 tonnes of food and medicines, left Port Klang yesterday for Yangon to unload supplies for the Rohingya in Myanmar and then proceed to Teknaf.

A senior official, however, told that Malaysia informed them that they would send a flotilla with aid to Myanmar which "may come to Bangladesh side after completing the distribution in Rakhine state".

"We hear their pain, those who have been raped, murdered and burned alive".

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