Published: Mon, February 12, 2018

Boris Johnson calls for safe return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar

Boris Johnson calls for safe return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar

However, Myanmar authorities have denied that they are carrying out ethnic cleansing in Rakhine state, speaking instead of a "clearance operation" that is a legitimate response to insurgent attacks.

Media captionMyanmar must find a safe and dignified way for Rohingya Muslims to return, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said. Mr Johnson is due to arrive in Bangkok for an official visit on Monday.

The Bangladesh border where refugees are sheltered is set to welcome foreign minister Boris Johnson who plans to embark on a trip to its camps.

"Action according to the law" will be taken against seven soldiers, three policemen, and six villagers as part of an army investigation, said government spokesman Zaw Htay on Sunday.

Johnson's statement said he had "raised the plight" of the two arrested Reuters journalists with Suu Kyi.

After months of denying any abuses by its troops, Myanmar's military admitted in January that security officers had assisted with the killing of 10 Rohingya men in Rakhine's Inn Din village. Buddhist villagers attacked some of them with swords and soldiers shot the others dead, it said.

The military's version of events was contradicted by accounts given to Reuters by Rakhine Buddhist and Rohingya Muslim witnesses.

Buddhist villagers reported no attack at all by any large number of insurgents on security forces in Inn Din.

The Foreign Secretary's trip to Bangladesh - the first such official visit in a decade - comes after almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled a military crackdown, which began last August. They were detained on Dec 12 for "obtaining confidential documents", meaning details of the massacre.

It is the first time that Reuters has publicly confirmed what the two journalists, Myanmar nationals Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, were working on at the time of their arrest two months ago.

We would like to reiterate that in the face of such overwhelming evidence of the genocide taking place next door, influential regional powers of Asean, and in particular India and China, can no longer ignore the extent of human rights violations of Rohingyas.

A Myanmar government spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.

Hundreds of thousands of the Muslim minority have fled what the United Nations has called a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.

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