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Myanmar minister makes landmark visit to Rohingya camp

AFP  |  Kutupalong 

A today toured one of the camps struggling to provide for some one million Rohingya Muslims, the first such visit since a army crackdown sparked a massive

Aye visited the giant refugee camp near the border city of Cox's Bazar, part of a three-day trip to Bangladesh, officials said.

It is the first time a cabinet member has visited the fetid and overcrowded camps since a military crackdown that began last August in response to a spate of insurgent attacks forced some 700,000 of the Muslim minority to flee across the border.

They added to the 300,000 Rohingya refugees already hosted from previous bouts of violence.

Aye was "meeting officials at the camps," told AFP, adding that representatives were involved in the talks.

Rohingya leaders in the camps said they would welcome the opportunity to meet the in person.

"We would like to meet face-to face with the minister," one leader, Mohibullah, told AFP.

Sources told AFP he was due to meet some 40 Rohingya community leaders while in camp.

The Rohingya have faced decades of persecution in Myanmar but the most recent crackdown has forced them to flee in unprecedented numbers.

The and has called Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya in the past eight months "ethnic cleansing".

Aye is of a task force led by Myanmar's de facto on the crisis in Rakhine state.

He has overseen a stalled agreement with to repatriate some 750,000 refugees.

Myanmar has approved several hundred Rohingya from a list of thousands to return to their homeland but noone has yet crossed back.

Many displaced Muslims have said they fear a repeat of persecution that has forced them off their lands if they go back.

Refugees demand recognition as a minority, access to health and education and an assurance they can return to their ancestral villages rather than being shunted into resettlement camps in Rakhine.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 11 2018. 13:50 IST