Myanmar's military to investigate itself on Rohingya rape allegations

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The United Nations has estimated that around 700,000 Rohinyga have fled to neighboring Bangladesh since August, when Myanmar kicked off this latest round of bloody crackdown on the Muslim minority.

Her remarks came at a press conference in Nay Pyi Taw on Tuesday, which marked the end of a high-profile UN Security Council visit to Bangladesh and Myanmar.

The clashed initially broke out in 2011, the recent violence hints at another case of ethnic cleansing.

Myanmar state-run media reports that the military there will be "taking harsh and stronger actions against such offenders" in the horrific rapes of Rohingya women and girls, documented by rights groups.

"This is a humanitarian crisis and a human rights issue", Kuwait's ambassador to the UN, Mansour al-Otaibi, told reporters after the delegation ended a three-day visit to Bangladesh and headed for Myanmar.

Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed in December to begin repatriating the refugees in January, but there were concerns among rights groups and Rohingya that they would be forced to return and face unsafe conditions in Myanmar.

Still, the Security Council envoys flew over villages burned and razed by the Myanmar military, which destroyed evidence of what happened there and allowed the government to claim the land as its own.

Representatives from the UN Security Council have just visited northern Rakhine to look into the preparations by Myanmar for the return of the refugees, as well as gain more insights into the situation there.

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"I am confident that this is an important turning point", she said.

India favoured a long-term strategy for socio-economic development of the Rakhine State, the spokesperson said, adding that New Delhi had also welcomed the agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh on the rehabilitation of displaced people.

However, Suu Kyi said Wednesday that this is the appropriate time to let United Nations agencies help Myanmar "for the good of all people in Rakhine".

"Because there was a planned meeting between the United Nations security team and local [Rakhine] ethnics, they learned that the truth is different from what they have heard", he said. "This is the reality that must be changed if refugees are to be reasonably expected to return".

In New York, U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq noted at a briefing that around 500,000 Rohingya still live in Rakhine, "facing continued discrimination and marginalization, including around 130,000 men, women and children who are trapped in appalling conditions in camps".

Aye Lwin also reminded the delegates that refugees living in makeshift shelters in Bangladesh as well as in Myanmar will face a major risk from floods and landslides during the fast-approaching monsoon season.

"Severe restrictions on their freedom of movement persist, grossly restricting their access to health care, education and livelihoods", he said.

The UN and global community accused the Myanmar military, locally known as the Tatmadaw, of perpetrating massive human rights abuses against the Muslim minority in northern Rakhine.

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