ON AUGUST 25th a group of militant Rohingya Muslims attacked police bases in northern Myanmar. The army retaliated with untrammelled fury, burning villages, killing civilians and raping women. More than 420,000 terrified Rohingyas have crossed the border into Bangladesh. The UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has proclaimed the exodus “unprecedented in terms of volume and speed”, and Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN’s human-rights chief, called it a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.
Myanmar’s leaders deny they are conducting a campaign of repression against the Rohingyas. Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of the government and a winner of the Nobel peace prize, has repeatedly failed to condemn the attacks. Speaking on September 19th, she again avoided mentioning the Rohingyas by name, and flatly claimed that no violence or village clearances had occurred since September 5th. Amnesty International, a human-rights group, branded the speech “a mix of untruths and victim-blaming”.
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