US wants Myanmar to stop persecution of Rohingyas

The plight of Myanmar's estimated 800,000 Rohingya, has been in the headlines since reports of serial abuse of the migrants by the Thai military.

US wants Myanmar to stop persecution of Rohingyas

The United States wants Mynamar to stop hounding Rohingya Muslims, a stateless minority from the former Burma's northwest region, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher said on Sunday.

"It's a matter of concern and the U.S wants that Myanmar stops the persecution of Rohingyas," Boucher said during a visit to Bangladesh.

He said attention had been drawn to the plight of the boat people landing in Thailand and Indonesia over the past weeks.

"The U.S. was aware of the fleeing of Rohingyas from Myanmar for persecution and economic reasons," Boucher told a news conference before leaving Bangladesh after a two-day visit.

The plight of Myanmar's estimated 800,000 Rohingya, has been in the headlines since reports of serial abuse of the migrants by the Thai military.

According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 230,000 Rohingya now live a precarious, stateless existence in Bangladesh, having fled decades of abuse and harassment at the hands of Myanmar's military rulers.

Indonesia last week detained 198 Rohingyas after finding them floating in a boat off the coast of Aceh. They had been at sea for 21 days.

Last month the Thai army admitted towing hundreds far out to sea before abandoning them, but insisted they had food and water and denied reports the boats' engines were sabotaged.

Of 1,000 Rohingya given such treatment since early December, 550 are thought to have drowned.

Asian task force to fight "terrorism"

Boucher said he visited Dhaka to see how the new U.S. administration could work with the new government and opposition in Bangladesh.

He met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, several ministers and Begum Khaleda Zia, former prime minister and now leader of the opposition.

"The U.S. wants to work with Bangladesh against terrorism and corruption," he said. "We also want to see regional response to Bangladesh proposal to form a South Asian task force to fight terrorism."

Hasina assumed power on Jan. 6 following a landslide win in the Dec. 29 election. She had floated the idea of a regional task force after Mumbai attacks in November, in which 179 people were killed.

Reuters

Last Mod: 09 Şubat 2009, 13:36
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