Having fled waves of violence, more than 900,000 members of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority are now languishing in refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh.

Iran PressAsia: In August 2017, all 6,000 Rohingya residents fled a brutal army campaign in Myanmar. Their houses were burned to the ground and then bulldozed, erasing any remnant of their lives there.

Now, red-roofed security buildings have been constructed where the Muslim houses stood. New homes have also sprung up - but not for the Rohingya. The new inhabitants are Buddhists, largely from other parts of  Rakhine, Reuters reported.

Myanmar’s leaders are promising to bring home hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled a brutal military crackdown. But the government, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, is taking steps that make their return increasingly unlikely.

The areas where the Rohingya lived in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State before the army ousted them are being dramatically transformed. The northern reaches of this region were once a Muslim-majority enclave in the overwhelmingly Buddhist nation.

Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, said the Reuters findings showed the actions of the authorities in Myanmar were making the expulsion of the Rohingya irreversible.

The Rohingya exodus has produced the world’s biggest refugee camp, the result of "ethnic cleansing" with "genocidal intent," according to the United Nations.

Aerial view of a burned Rohingya village near Maungdaw, north of Rakhine State, Myanmar, REUTERS

An offensive by Myanmar security forces last year in northern Rakhine that has driven out more than 730,000 Rohingya included mass killings and gang rapes, the United Nations said. Myanmar rejects these accusations, saying the crackdown was a legitimate response to "terrorism". 

At least 700,000 Rohingya have fled to neighboring Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar in the past year.

Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed in January to complete a voluntary repatriation of the refugees in two years. Myanmar set up two reception centers and what it says is a temporary camp near the border in Rakhine to receive the first arrivals.

UN officials have accused Myanmar's military of ethnic cleansing. The army says it has been tackling insurgents.

The Rohingya are one of many ethnic minorities in Myanmar, where the government sees them as illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh and denies them citizenship.

Fleeing refugees have reported killings, rapes and arson on a large scale. Myanmar has said its operations in Rakhine were a legitimate response to attacks on security forces by Rohingya insurgents.  101/ 211 /202


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Aerial view of a burned Rohingya village near Maungdaw, north of Rakhine State, Myanmar, REUTERS
Aerial view of a burned Rohingya village near Maungdaw, north of Rakhine State, Myanmar, REUTERS