Monday, February 09, 2009

BURMA 'MUST STOP ROHINGYA ABUSE'

A Rohingya migrant in a police van in Thailand, 31/01
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled Burma

The US has called on Burma to stop persecuting its Rohingya Muslim minority, who have fled the country in their hundreds of thousands.

On a visit to neighbouring Bangladesh, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher said the Rohingya's treatment was "a matter of concern" to the US.

Hundreds of Rohingya recently fled to Thailand in boats, but were cast adrift by the Thai authorities and many died.

Burma's military rulers do not recognise the Rohingya as Burmese.

And refugees who have been arriving in Thailand and Indonesia have told how the military authorities there have beaten and abused them.

Many have shown scars on their bodies they claimed were caused by Burmese soldiers whipping them as a warning not to return to Burma.

"The US was aware of the fleeing of Rohingyas from Myanmar [Burma] for persecution and economic reasons," Mr Boucher told a news conference in Dhaka.

"It's a matter of concern and the US wants that Myanmar stops the persecution of Rohingyas."

According to the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) some 230,000 Rohingya now live in Bangladesh, having fled decades of abuse by Burma's military rulers.
BBC NEWS REPORT.

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