Rohingya crisis can incite religious conflict in South Asia: UN

Dhaka [Bangladesh]: The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Monday said the possible “acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing” by the Myanmar army against the Rohingyas could incite a religious conflict in the South Asian region.

“Myanmar faces a very serious crisis – with a potentially severe impact on the security of the region,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, said in a statement.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said earlier in January that the country’s forests and natural environment had been “severely” affected due to the large influx of the Rohingyas from Myanmar, particularly in Cox’s Bazar, the Dhaka Tribune reported.

Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali on Sunday said that the government is planning to hold multilateral talks to have a permanent solution to the Rohingya crisis.

Last month, Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed on a two-year timeframe for the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) also urged Myanmar to end the military campaign against Muslim Rohingyas.

Myanmar and Bangladesh had earlier in December last year, formed Joint Working Group (JWG) to handle the repatriation of Rohingya refugees.

More than 655,000 Rohingyas have crossed into Bangladesh since August 25, 2017, escaping a military crackdown in Rakhine state, which many countries and human rights bodies have described as ethnic cleansing.

The Rakhine state is home to a majority of Muslims in Myanmar, who have been denied citizenship and long faced persecution in the Buddhist-majority country, especially from the extremists. (ANI)