Thousands of Rohingya refugees stranded near Bangladesh-Myanmar border

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Thousands more Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar into Bangladesh as a United Nations food agency reportedly withdrew a critical report highlighting the desperate hunger of the Muslim minority.

More than 580,000 refugees have arrived in Bangladesh since August 25, when Myanmar security forces began a scorched-earth campaign against Rohingya villages.

"We are gravely concerned about humanitarian conditions in Bangladesh, where thousands of new arrivals are stranded near the border", UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic told a Geneva news briefing. "They are waiting for permission to move away from the border, where the sound of gunfire continues to be heard every night from the Myanmar side".

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled Myanmar since August 25, when the military launched a crackdown decried by the United Nations as "ethnic cleansing". The refugees have described widespread and indiscriminate violence and arson.

"It is time for the worldwide community to move beyond public outcry and take action to end the campaign of violence that has driven more than half the Rohingya population out of Myanmar", Amnesty said.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein has called the situation "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing", but he has not used the word genocide. "Rohingya children have already endured atrocities".

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Based on interviews with more than 120 fleeing Rohingya, Amnesty International said at least hundreds of people were killed by security forces who surrounded villages, shot fleeing inhabitants and then set buildings alight, burning to death the elderly, sick and disabled who were unable to flee.

The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), a militant group, claimed responsibility for the attacks as well as for deadly smaller-scale raids on three border guard stations in October 2016.

"In this orchestrated campaign, Myanmar's security forces have brutally meted out revenge on the entire Rohingya population of Rakhine state, in an apparent attempt to permanently drive them out of the country", said Amnesty International Crisis Response Director Tirana Hassan. They have blamed ARSA insurgents for the violence.

The U.N. convention, passed in the wake of the Nazi holocaust, requires countries to act to prevent and punish genocide, which it defines as any of a number of acts committed with the "intent to destroy, in whole or in part" a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.

Reported byBenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service.

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