The Dalai Lama. Picture: REUTERS
The Dalai Lama. Picture: REUTERS

The situation in Myanmar is a textbook example of ethnic cleansing, the UN says, with the number of Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar for Bangladesh topping 300,000.

The UN warning came as it emerged the Dalai Lama had written to Aung San Suu Kyi urging Myanmar’s de facto civilian leader to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in the mainly Buddhist country.

The Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority, have faced decades of persecution in Myanmar, where they are regarded as illegal immigrants.

Since the latest upsurge in violence on August 25, hundreds of thousands have flooded across the border into Bangladesh bringing stories of villages burned to the ground by Buddhist mobs and Myanmar troops.

About 27,000 ethnic Rakhine Buddhists as well as Hindus have also fled the violence that has gripped northern Rakhine.

The UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, accused Myanmar of waging a "systematic attack" on the Rohingya and warned that "ethnic cleansing" seemed to be under way.

"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," he said on Monday.

Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace laureate, has come in for strong international criticism over the military crackdown on the Rohingya, which began when militants ambushed security forces on August 25.

It emerged on Monday that the Dalai Lama had joined fellow Nobel peace laureates Malala Yousafzai and Desmond Tutu in urging Suu Kyi to intervene.

"Questions that are put to me suggest that many people have difficulty reconciling what appears to be happening to Muslims there with Myanmar’s reputation as a Buddhist country," the Tibetan spiritual leader wrote to Suu Kyi.


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