United Nations braced for 'further exodus' of Rohingya from Myanmar

Fleeing for their lives

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Royce added that the Trump administration has promised $32 million in assistance - $28 million of which will go to Bangladesh, where roughly half a million Rohingya have fled from across the border since late August.

He added however that the country had in the past granted shelter to refugees, including those from Vietnam, who were allowed to stay on Pulau Bidong off the coast of Terengganu in the 1970s and 1980s.

It also urged a "safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return of refugees to their area of origin".

Myanmarese authorities, led by de facto leader and Noble peace prize victor Aug San Suu Kyi, have been tightly controlling access to the state since last month when purported attacks by Rohingya militants prompted a brutal military response that has forced over 515,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh.

Myanmar has tightly controlled access to the State since last month when attacks by Rohingya militants prompted an army kickback that has sent about 5,15,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh.

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Buddhist-majority Myanmar has blocked most access to the area, although some agencies have offices open in towns there and the International Committee of the Red Cross is helping the Myanmar Red Cross to deliver aid.

Under pressure, Myanmar has set up a working group with Bangladesh to facilitate the return of Rohingyas which Bangladesh calls "forcibly displaced Myanmar citizens".

This would be done according to criteria agreed in 1993, when tens of thousands of Rohingya were repatriated, she said.

Earlier on October 2, during a talk with Bangladesh foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali, Myanmar asserted it will take back hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who crossed the border to enter the neighboring country.

The Rohingya are regarded as illegal immigrants in Myanmar and most are stateless.

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The United Nations has condemned the ongoing violence against the Rohingya inside Myanmar, described by Human Rights Chief Zeid Raad al-Huseein as "textbook ethnic cleansing".

"We saw villages that had been burned to the ground and emptied of inhabitants".

The Myanmar government has taken groups of reporters to the region in recent weeks and has denied charges of systematic abuses against the Rohingya.

Its insistence on verifying the Rohingya could prove a "stumbling block" to repatriation, according to Shahab Enam Khan, an worldwide relations specialist at Jahangirnagar University.

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