Myanmar's ruling party holds interfaith rally to promote religious harmony

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"The [UN human rights] team documented consistent accounts of the Myanmar security forces surrounding or entering villages or settlements, sometimes accompanied by Rakhine Buddhist individuals firing indiscriminately at Rohingya villagers, injuring some and killing other innocent victims, setting houses on fire, and announcing in other villages that the same would befall them if they did not comply with the order to immediately abandon their homes", notes the report, issued Wednesday by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The UN refugee agency said earlier it was on full alert for new escalation in the Myanmar crisis after more than 11,000 Rohingya Muslims crossed the border into Bangladesh on Monday.

Myanmar's ruling party has held an interfaith rally to promote religious harmony as thousands of Rohingya Muslims continue to flee persecution in northern Rakhine state.

Authorities in Myanmar, led by Suu Kyi, have been tightly controlling access to Rakhine since August, when purported attacks by Rohingya fighters prompted a brutal military response that has forced over 515,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh.

The UN said there was evidence to suggest military operations are ongoing despite government claims they have ended.

"The Rohingya men were relying on the jars to keep them afloat".


Meanwhile, in Cox's Bazar district of Bangladesh, the police said the bodies of another nine refugees washed up after an overloaded boat carrying scores of desperate Rohingyas sank in rough seas on Sunday, taking the death toll to 23, the Daily Star reported.

One statement, "received by an extremely credible source, referred to a (pregnant) woman whose stomach was slit open after she was raped", the report said.

Myanmar's Buddhist majority denies that Rohingya Muslims are a separate ethnic group and regards them as illegal immigrants.

United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, who previously called the crackdown "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing", called the army's actions "a cynical ploy to forcibly transfer large numbers of people without possibility of return".

"Efforts were taken to effectively erase signs of memorable landmarks in the geography of the Rohingya landscape and memory in such a way that a return to their lands would yield nothing but a desolate and unrecognizable terrain", it added.

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