Rights group calls for arms embargo and sanctions against Myanmar

YANGON, Poppy McPherson (dpa)- Human Rights Watch on Monday called for new sanctions and an arms embargo on the Myanmar military, which has been accused of violent actions against the Rohingya Muslim minority that the UN has called "ethnic cleansing."
More than 400,000 Rohingya are believed to have fled Myanmar since August 25, when Rohingya militants attacked police posts, prompting an army crackdown. The Rohingya have accused Myanmar soldiers of mass arson and killings.

"Burmese security forces are committing ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya and disregarding the condemnation of world leaders," said John Sifton, Asia advocacy director at HRW, in a statement.
"The time has come to impose tougher measures that Burma’s generals cannot ignore," Sifton added.
World leaders gathering in New York this week for the UN General Assembly should agree to impose a travel ban and asset freeze on senior military figures, the statement said.
More than 1 million Rohingya lived in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state until the recent violence. They have been subjected to decades of persecution and limitations on freedom of movement and access to healthcare and education.
Also on Monday, the medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) called on Myanmar to grant aid organizations immediate access to Rakhine state to alleviate what it called "massive humanitarian needs."
"Our teams in Bangladesh are hearing alarming stories of severe violence against civilians in northern Rakhine," Karline Kleijer, emergency desk manager at MSF, said in a statement.
"Reports are that there is significant internal displacement of Rohingya, ethnic Rakhine populations and other minorities. Villages and houses have been burned down, including at least two out of four of MSF's clinics," the statement added.
According to the UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM), an estimated 409,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled into neighbouring Bangladesh since late August.
The remaining population in northern Rakhine, according to MSF, is thought to number in the hundreds of thousands and is without any form of humanitarian assistance.
"Injured, sick or chronically ill people in Northern Rakhine must be accessed without further delay, while emergency healthcare and other humanitarian assistance should be provided," Kleijer said.
Kleijer accused Myanmar government officials of hindering or intimidating personnel from international and domestic aid organizations from reaching internally displaced people in central Rakhine, as well as declaring northern Rakhine a military zone, resulting in even greater isolation of the population.

Monday, September 18th 2017
Poppy McPherson

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