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Burma’s treatment of Rohingya Muslims ‘looks like ethnic cleansing’, says Downing Street

Burma's treatment of Rohingya Muslims ‘looks like ethnic cleansing’, says Downing Street
Rohingya refugees cross the Naf River with an improvised raft to reach to Bangladesh (Picture: Reuters)

The UK Government thinks Burma’s treatment of its Rohingya Muslims ‘looks like ethnic cleansing’.

The country has long been accused of trying to get rid of the minority group and former International Development Secretary Priti Patel also previously referred to the crisis in these terms.

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Downing Street has now urged Burma’s military to end the campaign of ‘inhumane violence’ in Rakhine state.

Theresa May’s spokesman added the violence was causing a major humanitarian crisis in the south-east Asian country.

More than 600,000 people have crossed the border into Bangladesh since the attacks on Rohingya villages began in August.

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Burma's treatment of Rohingya Muslims ‘looks like ethnic cleansing’, says Downing Street
Downing Street has urged Burma’s military to end a campaign of ‘inhumane violence’ (Picture: Reuters)
Burma's treatment of Rohingya Muslims ‘looks like ethnic cleansing’, says Downing Street
Burma’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been criticised (Picture :AP)
Burma's treatment of Rohingya Muslims ‘looks like ethnic cleansing’, says Downing Street
The UK government did not call it genocide (Picture: Reuters)

The spokesman was also asked if Mrs May considered the crisis to be a genocide but he would not go there.

‘We have been appalled by the inhumane violence which has taken place in Rakhine state,’ he said.

‘It’s a major humanitarian crisis which has been created by Burma’s military and it looks like ethnic cleansing.’

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Burma's treatment of Rohingya Muslims ‘looks like ethnic cleansing’, says Downing Street
Bob Geldof (R) holds aloft his Freedom of the City of Dublin (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

He added: ‘The UK has been a leader in responding in speed and size. We’ve provided an additional £47 million since August to help meet the urgent humanitarian needs there.

‘What we’re absolutely clear on is that Burmese authorities need to stop the violence and ensure access into Rakhine state, so that UK aid can provide a lifeline to those suffering there.’

The comments came as Bob Geldof announced he would be returning the freedom of the city of Dublin, which was also given to Burma’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

She has been heavily criticised over her handling of the crisis.

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