Rohingya refugees are crossing over to Bangladesh.

Rohingya Muslims in the thousands crossed over from Myanmar to Bangladesh on October 9. They were fleeing due to fears of violence and starvation.

The United Nations has described the exodus as ethnic cleansing. Approximately 519,000 Rohingyas have entered Bangladesh since August 25. The crisis started when the Myanmar military began a fierce military response after Rakhine militants stormed a few security posts located in Rakhine state.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, the UN high commissioner responsible for human rights, claimed the military crackdown was a brutal one and clearly contravened international laws. He cited refugees have consistently told UN observers of extrajudicial killings and rape perpetrated by the Myanmar forces. The highly placed UN official said that the crackdown by the military resembles a plot to forcibly send a large number of the people away without any chance of return. The UN had noted Myanmar had by increments stripped the minority Rohingya population of political and civil rights for decades.

The European Union has proposed a stall in relations between the EU and the top generals governing Myanmar. The EU has said that it will be the first of many steps to punish the Myanmar military for this violence. Meanwhile, refugees have crossed over to Bangladesh's Palong Khali district from Myanmar's Rakhine state. They walked on the embankments along the scrubby forests and flooded fields. A number of refugees claimed that their villages have been burned down. They allege that soldiers aided by Buddhist mobs had led the flaming of properties.

Rights groups have claimed that Buddhist vigilantes along with the army are busy in a bloody campaign of arson and killing. The aim is to push the Rohingya Muslims out of Myanmar. The government as a riposte claimed that ethnic cleansing had not happened. It has labeled militants from Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army as terrorists. The Rohingya militants have killed a number of civilians and also torched villages.

The Myanmar Government has rejected all ethnic cleansing accusations. The civilian population in the country has unequivocally supported the government in its punitive action against the Rohingyas. The list of prominent Myanmarese who have lent their support to the government action includes U Aung Hla Tun, the Myanmar Press Council's vice-chairman. He claimed that the term 'Rohingya' was coined only a few years back. He added the people who call them Rohingyas are not a part of the Myanmar minority population. This is also the official line. The Rohingyas along with other minority populations dispute this statement.

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