Aung San Suu Kyi was under growing international pressure on Monday after the UN’s top human rights official accused her government of “textbook ethnic cleansing” and the Dalai Llama criticised Buddhist nationalist attacks on Burma’s Rohingya ethnic minority.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that Burma seemed to be carrying out a “systematic attack” on civilians designed to expel the mainly Muslim minority from the predominantly Buddhist country.
“Because Myanmar has refused access to human rights investigators the current situation cannot yet be fully assessed, but the situation seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” Mr Zeid told the UN Human Rights Council.
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh in the past two weeks after violence flared in neighbouring Burma, also known as Myanmar, where the stateless Muslim minority has endured decades of persecution.
Mr Zeid’s condemnation came as the Dalai Lama also spoke out for the first time about the crisis, saying Buddha would have helped Muslims fleeing violence.
“Those people who are sort of harassing some Muslims, they should remember Buddha,” the Dalai Lama told journalists who asked him about the crisis on Friday evening.
“He would definitely give help to those poor Muslims. So still I feel that. So very sad.” Burma says it is carrying out counter-terrorist operations in Rakine State against the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, a militant group that carried out a series of deadly attacks on border guard posts on August 25.
But refugees and human rights groups say the Burmese military and local vigilantes are systematically targeting civilians in a campaign of terror characterised by house burnings, mass shootings, beheadings, and gang rape.
The growing international outrage condemning the violent treatment of the Rohingya has reportedly made little impact on the Burmese military who were still threatening to burn down villages on Monday, said human rights activists.
Tun Khin, president of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK told The Telegraph he had received multiple calls on Monday afternoon from desperate residents in Buthidaung, Rakhine State, who said soldiers had threatened to kill them and burn down their homes if they remained.
“They [military] are telling villagers we will kill all of you, we will burn all the villages,” he said. “The villagers are asking if the international community can do anything and whether…