World

US declares attacks on Myanmar Rohingya Muslims as ‘ethnic cleansing’

The United States sharply escalated its pressure on Myanmar officials on Wednesday over widening attacks on the country’s Muslim minority, describing the violence and massive refugee flight as ethnic cleansing against the
Rohingya Muslims.

The statement by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson could signal a greater push by the Trump administration to impose wider sanctions against Myanmar authorities and others blamed for the humanitarian crisis.

More than 600,000 Rohingya from Myanmar’s Rakhine State have fled to neighboring Bangladesh, creating one of the world’s most dire refugee dilemmas.

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‘‘No provocation can justify the horrendous atrocities that have ensued,’’ said Tillerson, who cited Myanmar forces and ‘‘local vigilantes’’ for the campaign against the Rohingya.

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Officials in Myanmar, a mostly Buddhist nation also known as Burma, deny accusations of a systematic offensive against the Rohingya and claim the military intervened in Rakhine to battle Muslim insurgents.

washington post