A United Nations
team visiting the violence-ridden state of Rakhine in western Myanmar says the scale of suffering of remaining Rohingya Muslims in the area is far beyond imagination.
“The scale of the human suffering is unimaginable and the UN
sends its deepest condolences to all those affected,” said the UN
on Monday after three of its members joined a government-controlled visit to Rakhine’s northern areas, where a crackdown on Muslim Rohingya people has left hundreds of thousands homeless.
The UN called on the government to put an end to the “cycle of violence” against the Rohingya while reiterating “the need for greater humanitarian access.”
Diplomats arrive at Sittwe Airport in Rakhine state, Myanmar, on October 2, 2017. (Photo by EPA)
More than 500,000 Rohingya people have fled the violence in Rakhine to neighboring Bangladesh. The exodus began after Myanmar’s army, backed by Buddhist mobs, launched massive raids on villages populated by the Rohingya, killing many of them and burning their homes to the ground. The UN has already described what has happened to the minority group as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
The Monday visit, a first since a fresh wave of violence began in Rakhine in late August, was delayed from last week.
Diplomats and aid agency representatives who joined the one-day visit to Maungdaw and Rathedaung areas have yet to comment on the limitations of the trip.
Rohingya Muslim refugees walk on a flooded path in Kutupalong refugee camp in the Bangladeshi district of Ukhia on September 30, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
A European Union delegation that also joined the trip said in a statement that no investigation could be carried out given the circumstances of the visit.
“We saw villages that had been burned to the ground and emptied of inhabitants. The violence must stop,” said the EU, adding that the Rohingya Muslims still remaining in Rakhine were in need of unimpeded humanitarian help. It also called on Yangon to give media access to the affected regions.
More than one million Rohingya Muslims used to live in Rakhine before the recent bout of violence began over the August 25 attacks on police and border posts by militants alleged to be affiliated with the minority group.