The Financial Express

Myanmar wants clear evidence of genocide

| Updated: March 10, 2018 13:00:38

Photo: Reuters Photo: Reuters

Myanmar wants to see clear evidence to support accusations of ethnic cleansing or genocide perpetrated against its Muslim minority in Rakhine state.

Myanmar's National Security Adviser Thaung Tun came up with the statement while replying to a questions from journalists in Geneva on Thursday.

The adviser said they have often heard many accusations of ethnic cleansing or even genocide in Myanmar.

"Although there are accusations, we would like to have clear evidence," he said.

"We should look into that before making a pronouncement on whether there is ethnic cleansing or genocide," Thaung Tun said.

He said charges of ethnic cleansing and genocide were very serious and should not be considered lightly.

"The vast majority of the Muslim community that was living in Rakhine remain. If it was a genocide, they would all be driven out,” Thaung Tun said.

The Myanmar adviser claimed the Muslims fled largely because the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) armed group had sowed fear.

Reuters said, he accused ARSA of having forced villagers to join their attacks on the security forces and had insisted on a scorched earth policy, burning villages in retreat.

Thaung Tun said former residents would be welcomed back if they were willing to "participate in the life of the nation", for example by learning the Burmese language.

"Those who want to become citizens of Myanmar, we are happy to welcome them, but they have to go through a process. There cannot be automatic citizenship," he said.

Nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled Rakhine into neighbouring Bangladesh since insurgent attacks sparked a security crackdown in August, joining 200,000 refugees from a previous exodus.

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