Myanmar said on Friday a visiting US official would not be allowed to go to a region where violence has triggered an exodus of nearly 400,000 Rohingya Muslims that the United Nations has branded a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Patrick Murphy will voice Washington’s concerns about the Rohingya and press for greater access to the conflict area for humanitarian workers, the State Department said.
He will also visit Sittwe, the state capital, and meet the governor of Rakhine, state government secretary Tin Maung Swe told Reuters, but the north of the state, where the conflict erupted on 25 August, will remain off limits.
“Not allowed,” Tin Maung Swe said, when asked if Murphy would be going to Maungdaw district, at the heart of the strife that began when Rohingya insurgents attacked police posts and an army camp, killing a dozen people.
While almost 400,000 refugees have poured across the border into Bangladesh, fears have also been growing of a humanitarian crisis on the Myanmar side, but access for aid workers and reporters has been severely restricted.
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Featured image of Burmese refugee camp in Thailand courtesy of Wikimedia Commons