St Albans MP Anne Main accuses Myanmar of the “ethnic cleaning” of Rohingya Muslims

Anne Main (left) in Bangladesh

Anne Main (left) in Bangladesh - Credit: Archant

St Albans MP Anne Main has accused the Myanmar military of the “ethnic cleansing” of Rohingya Muslims, following her trip to refugee camps in southern Bangladesh.

British aid at work in Bangladesh.

British aid at work in Bangladesh. - Credit: Archant

She led the Conservatives Friends of Bangladesh to camps in the region at the end of September.

Around a million Rohingya people previously lived in Myanmar - also known as Burma.

But the government refuses to acknowledge they are citizens, and since August around 450,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh after being persecuted by the Myanmar authorities.

Mrs Main said: “Anyone visiting the region can see for themselves what is happening. It’s ethnic cleansing.

A refugee camp in Bangladesh

A refugee camp in Bangladesh - Credit: Archant

“The Rohingya are being driven from their homes and villages in what can only be described as the ritual oppression and destruction of a people.

“The scale of the crisis is breathtaking. It is truly harrowing to see the conditions that these people are living in. We spoke to many refugees during our time there whose stories were unimaginable.

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“We were told of young Rohingya boys being castrated to prevent the population expanding and of women being forced to watch the brutal murder of their sons and husbands at the hands of the Burmese military.

“Babies have no energy to cry, and it’s difficult for the people working there.”

The refugee camps in Bangladesh.

The refugee camps in Bangladesh. - Credit: Archant

“It feels like a concentration camp with people still in it.”

There are apparently 13,000 unaccompanied children, and 80,000 pregnant women in the camps.

While her group was there a mudslide struck, destroying what little shelter there was.

The conditions are so bad in the camps, Mrs Main reckons it would not take much for a massive outbreak of diseases.

The Bangladeshi are very supportive of the refugees, she added, but have their own people to look after.

She praised the British aid effort, but said more help is needed, and global leaders cannot stand by.

“Pressure needs to be put on Myanmar, until the world can go in and see the reality.

“We are among the few people to have been able to go in the camps, and it’s our duty to talk about it.”

She has already spoken to the Foreign Office, and has promised to raise the issue in Parliament.