Burma (Myanmar) is seeking the ethnic cleansing of the Muslim Rohingya minority from its territory, but its de facto leader and Nobel peace prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, has not only not spoken out against it, but actually took the side of the army which is responsible for the ethnic cleansing and massacres.
“No, it’s not ethnic cleansing,” she said in a rare interview on the subject in 2013.
However, more than a quarter of a million Rohingya refugees have flooded into Bangladesh Just in the last two weeks, fleeing violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state, according to the United Nations refugee agency.
Spokesman William Spindler said 270,000 Rohingya had crossed the border since August 25. The new numbers represent roughly a third of the country's Rohingya people, a stateless Muslim minority.
Aung San Suu Kyi is in a delicate position. She is Myanmar's de facto leader, but security is under the control of the autonomous armed forces. If Ms Suu Kyi bows to international pressure and sets up a credible investigation into the alleged abuses in Rakhine state, she risks fracturing her relationship with the army. It could jeopardise the stability of her young government.
So for the last six weeks Ms Suu Kyi has kept her head firmly in the sand, avoiding journalists and press conferences. While there are loud calls from overseas for action, most Burmese have very little sympathy for the Rohingya. The army's "clearance operations" against the "violent attackers" of Rakhine state appear to have strong popular support, putting Ms Suu Kyi under very little domestic pressure.
Burma is a country whose 80 percent of the population follows the religion of Buddhism, it is a south eastern country bordering India, Bangladesh, Thailand, China and Laos. The Rohingya people are a stateless Indo-Aryan people from Rakhine State, Myanmar, which they claim to be their homeland for generations.
The estimated one million Muslim Rohingya are seen by many in mainly Buddhist Myanmar as illegal migrants from Bangladesh, despite having lived in Burma for many generations. They are denied citizenship by the government. In the eyes of the Burmese government, they have no basic human rights, and are treated as squatters on their ancestral lands, which the Burmese government and its army is in the process of evicting them from.
Recently there has been a step up in the ethnic cleansing operations as Burmese Armed forces have been killing Rohingya in Rakhine state, forcing many to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh, says John McKissick a senior UN official of the UN refugee agency.
"Security forces have been killing men, shooting them, slaughtering children, raping women, burning and looting houses, forcing these people to cross the river into Bangladesh.” according to McKissick.
According to him it's "Now it's very difficult for the Bangladeshi government to say the border is open because this would further encourage the government of Myanmar to continue the atrocities and push them out until they have achieved their ultimate goal of ethnic cleansing of the Muslim minority in Myanmar," he added.
Rohingya refugees cross the border into Bangladesh.
Earlier this week, Human Rights Watch released satellite images which it said showed that more than 1,200 homes had been razed in Rohingya villages over the past six weeks.
The Burmese government has forbidden journalists and aid workers to enter northern Rakhine, as it wants no record or outside witnesses to its continuing ethnic cleansing operations against the Rohingya people.