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Thursday December 14th, 2017 5:13AM

The Latest: Muslim body urges Myanmar to let in UN monitors

By The Associated Press
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UKHIYA, Bangladesh (AP) — The Latest on violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state and the flood of ethnic Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh (all times local):

5:30 a.m.

The world's largest Muslim body is urging Myanmar to allow in U.N. monitors so they can investigate what it alleges is systematic brutality against the Rohingya ethnic minority.

At least 370,000 Rohingya have flooded into Bangladesh since Aug. 25, when Myanmar's military responded to an insurgent attack with what it called "clearance operations" to root out the rebels. Many of the fleeing Rohingya have said Myanmar soldiers shot indiscriminately, burned their homes and warned them to leave or die. Others said they were attacked by Buddhist mobs.

The U.N. Human Rights Council approved an investigative mission earlier this year, but Myanmar in June refused to allow it to enter. An envoy's visit in July was met with protests.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation issued its statement Tuesday after an emergency meeting on the sidelines of a technology conference in Astana, Kazakhstan.

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1:15 a.m.

Two human rights groups are accusing the U.N. Security Council of ignoring the "ethnic cleansing" taking place on a large scale against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar who are fleeing across the border to Bangladesh.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International representatives said at a joint press conference at U.N. headquarters Tuesday that the U.N.'s most powerful body has failed to speak out and immediately demand an end to the violence.

It comes ahead of closed council discussions Wednesday on the crisis.

The U.N. said Tuesday that 370,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh since Aug. 25 and thousands are arriving every day.

Louis Charbonneau, the U.N. director for Human Rights Watch, said, "This is an international peace and security crisis" and there is no excuse for the Security Council "sitting on its hands."

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1:05 a.m.

The United Nations says two flights have landed in Bangladesh with supplies to help 25,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said one flight chartered by the U.N. refugee agency carried shelter materials, sleeping mats and other emergency supplies for a refugee camp in Cox's Bazar district in the country's southeast. He said a second flight, donated by the United Arab Emirates, carried nearly 2,000 family tents.

Further flights are planned to enable a total of 120,000 refugees to be reached.

Dujarric says the U.N. World Food Program is providing food to some 70,000 people as they arrive in Cox's Bazar and to nearly 60,000 people living in camps and makeshift settlements.

In Myanmar, Dujarric said most aid activities in northern Rakhine state remain either suspended or severely interrupted, although the government is delivering some aid through the Red Cross.

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5 p.m.

Myanmar's military says Rohingya Muslim villagers helped them arrest six suspected Rohingya insurgents armed with swords and slingshots in the country's conflict-torn northern Rakhine state.

The government says the six are suspected of being members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, which attacked police posts Aug. 25. Violence since then has sent hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fleeing, burned 60 villages and left hundreds dead. The government and Rohingya blame each other.

The military commander in chief's office said Tuesday on its Facebook page that six alleged insurgents were detained Monday by fellow Rohingya as they entered Ka Nyin Tan village in Maungdaw township.

Authorities in Buddhist-majority Myanmar refer to Rohingya as Bengalis, contending that they immigrated illegally from nearby Bangladesh, though many Rohingya families have lived in Myanmar for generations.

4:15 p.m.

The U.N. refugee agency says the number of Rohingya refugees that have fled recent violence in Myanmar has spiked to about 370,000.

That new estimate given Tuesday in a statement by UNHCR is more than 50,000 higher than Monday's estimate — a result of aid agencies reaching "more villages, hamlet and pockets where refugees have gathered."

Thousands of ethnic Rohingya Muslims have been arriving daily by foot across the swampy border as well as by rickety wooden boats traveling on wild seas since violence erupted on Aug. 25 in Myanmar.

The influx has left Bangladesh refugee camps reeling. The UNHCR said it was flying in two shipments of aid materials including jerry cans, blankets, sleeping mats and shelter materials.

It said the goods would help some 25,000 refugees at jam-packed refugee camps in Bangladesh's border district of Cox's Bazar. More airlifts were planned in coming days.

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11:45 a.m.

Iran's Supreme Leader has strongly condemned the killing of Muslims in Myanmar by the government.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the killing of Rohingya Muslims is a political disaster for Myanmar because it is being carried out by a government led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, whom he called a "brutal woman."

He urged Muslim countries to take practical steps to stop the violence and said they should "increase political, economic and commercial pressures on the government of Myanmar."

At least 313,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since Aug. 25, when Rohingya insurgents attacked police posts, prompting Myanmar's military to retaliate with what it called "clearance operations" to root out the rebels.

Myanmar authorities said more than a week ago that some 400 Rohingya, mostly insurgents, had died in clashes with troops, but it has offered no update. It has also blamed Rohingya for burning their own homes even though new fires were occurring after Rohingya fled.

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11:30 a.m.

The Bangladeshi prime minister is visiting a struggling refugee camp that has absorbed some of the hundreds of thousands who fled recent violence in Myanmar.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told a rally during Tuesday's visit to the Kutupalong refugee camp, near the border town of Ukhiya, that she wished for peace for the Rohingya and would not "tolerate injustice" against them.

She pledged that Bangladesh would do its best to help the Rohingya, but said Myanmar should take steps soon to "take their nationals back."

On Monday night, she lambasted Myanmar for "atrocities" that she said had reached a level beyond description.

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9 a.m.

The Bangladeshi leader has lambasted Myanmar for the "atrocities" that have driven hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh in recent weeks.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged Buddhist-majority Myanmar to bring the Rohingya back, while parliament passed a motion Monday night urging the U.N. and other countries to pressure Myanmar for their safety and citizenship.

"Myanmar must take back every Rohingya who has entered Bangladesh and who are coming in now," she told lawmakers late Monday. "We can cooperate to rehabilitate them in their country."

Hasina criticized Myanmar's authorities for the recent violence against the Rohingya, which she said had reached a level beyond description.

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3 a.m.

The United States says it is "deeply troubled" by the Myanmar crisis, which hundreds of thousands of Muslims have fled to escape violence.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the administration continues to condemn the violence between Rohingya Muslims and Myanmar security forces.

The United Nations reported Monday that 313,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar's western state of Rakhine — the biggest flight of the minority Rohingya in a generation.

The violence began Aug. 25, when an ethnic Rohingya insurgent group attacked police posts in Myanmar and security forces retaliated.

Villages were burned and hundreds of people died, mainly Rohingya Muslims, who are denied citizenship and regarded by Myanmar's majority Buddhists as illegal immigrants.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News
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