Thousands of Rohingya 'killed in a month'


More than 6,700 Rohingya, including 730 children were killed after violence broke out in Myanmar's Rakhine state late August, according to global medical NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).

Shawn Crispin, a senior representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists, also called on Myanmar authorities to "to immediately, unconditionally release" the journalists. Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh say their exodus from the mainly Buddhist nation was triggered by a military offensive in response to Rohingya militant attacks on security forces at the end of August.

Myanmar's army has claimed 400 have died since the start of the crisis.

The number of people who died in Myanmar's Rakhine state from being shot, burned inside their homes, beaten and other grisly causes between August 25 and September 24 (see table) includes 730 children under age 5, according to MSF. "With very few independent aid groups able to access Maungdaw district in Rakhine, we fear for the fate of Rohingya people who are still there".

At least 6700 Rohingya were killed in the month after violence broke out in Myanmar in August, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says.

"I think it's important that the global community does everything possible" to win the release of the journalists and also to end the dramatic human rights violations that have caused many to flee their country, he said Thursday.

Though more than 1 million ethnic Rohingya Muslims have lived in the country for generations, they were stripped of their citizenship, denied nearly all rights and labelled stateless. About 630,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar into Bangladesh to escape what the United Nations has called "ethnic cleansing". Gunshots were the leading cause in violent deaths (69 percent), followed by being burnt to death (9 percent) and beaten to death (5 percent). The report states that out of the estimate, "71.7% of the reported deaths were caused by violence".

"We met and spoke with survivors of violence in Myanmar, who are now sheltering in overcrowded and unsanitary camps in Bangladesh", MSF's medical director Sidney Wong said.

In November, Bangladesh signed a deal with Myanmar to return hundreds of thousands of the refugees. It is not a defensive or pre-emptive move against a radical faction, ARSA, within the Rohingya community, but a decisive move in a decades-long series of attacks and constant persecution, aimed to wipe out an entire ethnic minority population in Myanmar.

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