Pope condemns Myanmar's treatment of 'peaceful' Rohingya refugees

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Human Rights Watch said in a report on Monday that Myanmar's government forces had committed "rape and other sexual violence" against women and girls of the Rohingya. Myanmar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to a request for comment.

The pope issued a strong defence of the Rohingyas in unprepared remarks at his weekly audience following last week's United Nations report that said security forces in the north of the country had carried out mass killings, gang rapes and had burned villages. It has previously denied nearly all accusations.

Last month, Bangladesh established a committee comprised of state officials in coastal districts to oversee the plan, and ordered authorities to help identify and relocate undocumented Myanmar nationals to the island. That took two-and-a-half hours.

Government officials led by Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Win Myat Aye and Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister Reezal Merican Naina Merican welcomed the ship and participated in a symbolic official handover ceremony for the supplies, of which 398 tons were offloaded to be forwarded by the Myanmar government to communities in Rakhine.

Myanmar officials have also accused Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak of tapping into the Rohingya cause "to promote a certain political agenda".

Buddhist monks and other protesters demonstrated in Myanmar against the arrival of a ship from Malaysia carrying aid for thousands of Rohingya people.

"These ships arrived in Yangon under the pretext of helping refugees", said Buddhist monk Ven Thuseitta from the Yangon chapter of the Patriotic Myanmar Monks Union.

Shutdown in IOK on martyrdom anniversary of Afzal Guru
Several parts of the region were affected due to lock down observed in the memory of Afzal Guru by separatists. Authorities imposed strict restrictions to prevent anti-government protests and rallies on the occasion.

The high commissioners of three Commonwealth countries have visited a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox's Bazar.

Buddhist nationalist groups are especially strong in their vitriol, rejecting them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. "They are Bengalis" and "We do not allow the word Rohingya".

Around one million Rohingya live in Myanmar but the government doesn't recognize them as citizens, and they're considered to be among the most oppressed people in the world.

"The openness of the government of Myanmar to receive this aid shows that it is something very positive".

The officials, dealing with Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar, said on Wednesday that the death toll from the carnage had been far greater than previously annonced.

The Myanmar government has said that the aid must be distributed to both Rohingya and ethnic Rakhine people alike.

"We will wait for the next instruction whether or not to stop in Sittwe, and this confirms that the first phase of the mission is complete", he told reporters here on Thursday.