Border Guard Bangladesh says Myanmar officials have been using loudspeakers to urge Rohingya refugees in the no man's land to enter Bangladesh, which Dhaka does not want.

Myanmar security personnel keep watch along the Myanmar-Bangladesh border as Rohingya refugees sit outside their makeshifts shelters near Tombru in the Bangladeshi district of Bandarban. March 1, 2018.
Myanmar security personnel keep watch along the Myanmar-Bangladesh border as Rohingya refugees sit outside their makeshifts shelters near Tombru in the Bangladeshi district of Bandarban. March 1, 2018. (AFP)

Bangladesh's border agency on Thursday accused Myanmar of deploying additional forces across its border near a no man's land where thousands of Rohingya Muslim refugees are living in tents.

A total of about 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled from Buddhist-dominated Myanmar to Bangladesh since late August, when Myanmar security forces began massive "clearance operations" after an insurgent group attacked security posts.

Brigadier General Mojibur Rahman, additional director general of the Border Guard Bangladesh, said his agency protested to Myanmar for unilaterally increasing its border guards and bringing in soldiers at the Tombru border crossing in Khagrachhari district. He said they asked Myanmar's Border Guard Police for a meeting to resolve their concerns.

Rahman said Myanmar's motive was not clear, but it could be an attempt to push about 6,000 Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh from the no man's land.

He complained that Myanmar officials have been using loudspeakers to urge the Rohingya in the no man's land to enter Bangladesh. Bangladesh wants them to return to Myanmar.

The news agency United News of Bangladesh reported that Bangladesh's acting foreign secretary, Mohammed Khurshed Alam, summoned Myanmar's envoy in Dhaka and handed over a protest note.

It said the ministry conveyed Bangladesh's concerns about Myanmar's military buildup at Tombru and said it would create confusion and escalate tensions along the border. The ministry asked for an immediate pullback of the security forces from the area, the agency reported.

Nobel Peace laureates, from left, Yemen's Tawakkol Karman, Iran's Shirin Ebadi and Ireland's Mairead Maguire address a press conference after their visit to the Rohingya refugee camps in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The three Nobel Peace laureates accused Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the nation's military of genocide for their role in violence that has forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh. February 28, 2018.
Nobel Peace laureates, from left, Yemen's Tawakkol Karman, Iran's Shirin Ebadi and Ireland's Mairead Maguire address a press conference after their visit to the Rohingya refugee camps in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The three Nobel Peace laureates accused Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the nation's military of genocide for their role in violence that has forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh. February 28, 2018. (AP)

Peace prize laureates slam Aung San Suu Kyi

Three peace prize laureates who met Rohingya Muslims in sprawling refugee camps accused fellow Nobel recipient Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar's military of committing genocide in the deadly violence that forced hundreds of thousands to flee into Bangladesh.

Suu Kyi does not oversee her country's military or its security operations that set off the refugee exodus, but the laureates said as Myanmar's leader, she cannot avoid responsibility.

Tawakkol Karman of Yemen urged Suu Kyi to "wake up" or "face prosecution," and Northern Ireland's Mairead Maguire and Iran's Shirin Ebadi promised to work to bring those responsible to justice. 

The laureates spoke at a news conference in Dhaka on Wednesday during their weeklong trip to Bangladesh to visit the camps where the Rohingya are living.

All three were emotionally charged as they unanimously called the violence against Rohingya in Myanmar "genocide."

"There is no other definition, it is genocide, genocide against innocent people," Karman said. "Millions of people [have] been displaced from their cities, women [have] been raped, all the women, we met like 100 women, all of them [have] been raped."

She said they were overwhelmed as they talked to the children.

"Most of the children we met ... fled to Bangladesh without their families. Their fathers, their mothers [have] been killed, been murdered," Karman said.

Karman, one of three recipients of the 2011 prize for women's rights advocacy, said Suu Kyi should not be silent.

"She did not tell the truth to the world. She should stop her silence, she should wake up and stop this genocide," she said.

Maguire, who co-founded a Northern Ireland peace group and shared the 1976 prize, said the three laureates were looking for legal options to ensure justice. 

"We plan to take Myanmar's government to the International Court of Justice," she said.

Ebadi, who was Iran's first female judge and the 2003 Nobel laureate, blasted her native country and other Middle Eastern nations for not doing enough for the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic group long persecuted in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

Ebadi said Myanmar was not a party to the statute that set up the ICC but could be referred to the court by the UN Security Council.

"We want this case to be discussed at the UN Security Council and there is sufficient evidence for this to take place," she said.

The laureates said they were willing to meet with Suu Kyi to convince her to stop the genocide and give Rohingya full rights, including citizenship. They said they got no response to earlier efforts but would again push to obtain visas to visit Myanmar and Rakhine state, where the security operations took place.

The laureates also met Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday and promised to work toward solving the crisis.

In November, Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an agreement to gradually repatriate Rohingya in "safety, security and dignity," but the process has been delayed in part because of security concerns.

Bangladesh says it will not repatriate any Rohingya against their will but wants the international community to continue to pressure Myanmar to create conditions for a sustainable repatriation.

Source: AP