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U.S. calls Myanmar atrocities 'ethnic cleansing'

Thursday, November 23, 2017 - 01:17

The United States has called the military operation against Myanmar's Rohingya population “ethnic cleansing” and is threatening targeted sanctions against those responsible. Grace Lee reports.

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With no clear end to the Rohingya Muslim crisis in sight, the U.S. is stepping up it rhetoric against Myanmar. On Wednesday (November 22), Secretary of state Rex Tillerson used the term "ethnic cleansing" to describe the military operation against the Muslim minority, something he didn't do at a news conference alongside leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar last week. Tillerson says those responsible for alleged abuses need to be held accountable and the U.S. could follow up with targeted sanctions. Washington is upping its rhetoric in part to pressurize Myanmar's leaders into dealing with the crisis. Though analysts say it's likely to create more distrust between the two countries, and push Myanmar closer to China and Russia. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES, FILIPPO GRANDI, SAYING: "We haven't seen this type of trauma for a long, long time." Rights groups have accused Myanmar's military of heinous acts, including killing, mass rape and arson against the Rohingya. More than 600,000 Muslims have fled Rakhine state, mostly to neighboring Bangladesh. Myanmar's 2 year-old government led by Suu Kyi has faced heavy international criticism for its response to the crisis. Washington officials say they'll work with Bangladesh and Myanmar to encourage the voluntary repatriation of Rohingya.

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U.S. calls Myanmar atrocities 'ethnic cleansing'

Thursday, November 23, 2017 - 01:17