As of Nov. 22, the United States declared the actions against the Rohingya people in Myanmar qualify as “ethnic cleansing,” warning of penalties for those that continue persecution, Associated Press News reported.
“After a careful and thorough analysis of available facts, it is clear that the situation in northern Rakhine State constitutes ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement.
Tillerson made an official visit to Myanmar in order to gather information before determining the actions against the Rohingya to be ethnic cleansing or not, AP reports.
The Wall Street Journal reports after facing pressure from various world leaders and the United Nations, Bangladesh and Myanmar made a deal to begin a repatriation process for refugees.
The New York Times reports Win Myat Aye, Myanmar’s minister of social welfare and resettlement, stated the government could verify up to 300 returnees a day. Over 620,000 have fled Myanmar, meaning it will take several years for the process to be completed.
Upon the return of the Rohingya to Myanmar, they most likely will not have access to their homes and lands they possessed before fleeing, The New York Times reports. Returnees will most likely be placed in “model villages,” or self-contained communities.
The conflict between the Rohingya began in August, Al Jazeera reports, continuing the history of disputes between the two. Myanmar refuses to acknowledge the Rohingya as citizens or a recognized ethnic group, leading the Muslim population to be labeled as stateless.
The New York Times reports Myanmar has attempted to erase the Rohingya from the history of the country. U Kyaw San Hla, an officer in Rakhine’s state security ministry, is reported to have said, “There is no such thing as Rohingya.”
The Hill reports Tillerson believes nothing could justify the actions of those in Myanmar towards the Rohingya Muslims.
“These abuses by some among the Burmese military, security forces and local vigilantes have caused tremendous suffering and forced hundreds of thousands of men, women and children to flee their homes in Burma to seek refuge in Bangladesh,” Tillerson said.