The visiting US ambassador at large for international religious freedom has said they will take more actions against Myanmar as the investigations into the Rohingya “ethnic cleansing” are moving forward.
“You will see more actions forward,” Sam Brownback said at a press briefing in Dhaka on Thursday at the end of his three-day visit.
He said he spoke with the Rohingyas during a visit to the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar on Wednesday and heard their “tragic and terrible” stories.
“Deeply concerning” things have taken place, he said, adding that every one of the randomly selected children told him they had seen close family members either stabbed or shot or killed in front of them.
“One child said she saw both of her grandparents shot and killed. It’s horrible violence. Mother has seen her 12-year old daughter cut in front of her,” he said.
He said an imam was beaten and forced to witness the rape of women.
He said the US had earlier labelled the situation as “ethnic cleansing” and “launched a fact-finding mission”.
The US also imposed sanctions targeting the individuals responsible for the violence, including General Maung Maung Soe, who was in charge of the military operation that has driven more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh since Aug 25 last year.
While talking to the Rohingyas, Brownback said, everybody but one person said they were pushed out of the country because they are Muslims.
He said he asked that specific question as he is in charge of the US international religious freedom department.
“Its ethnic cleansing against religious minority,” he said, “We will continue to investigate that.”
“Additional actions will be forthcoming,” he reiterated.
Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed on repatriating the Rohingyas and signed a deal on the matter.
American Ambassador Marcia Bernicat told the press briefing any return “must take place under safe, dignified and voluntary conditions and voluntariness has to be well informed”.