Thousands of Rohingya 'killed in a month'

Myanmar's Rohingya ethnic minority
Aid group: At least 6700 Rohingya killed in Myanmar

16 December, 2017

The two journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, were detained under the British colonial-era Official Secrets Act Tuesday evening while reporting on the country's military crackdown, which has caused more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.

"We call for the immediate release of these two Reuters reporters,"said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF's Asia-Pacific desk".

Rakhine State has been a focus of global media attention since August because Burmese army operations there have driven more than 620,000 members of Myanmar's Rohingya minority to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh.

"Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo have been reporting on events of global importance in Myanmar, and we learned today that they have been arrested in connection with their work", Stephen J. Adler, president and editor In chief of Reuters, said in a statement. "He was just doing his job as a journalist and we hope that they will be released soon".

A top United Nations human rights official said last week that Myanmar's security forces may be guilty of genocide against the Rohingya.

The United Nations has branded the military's campaign "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing" of the minority Rohingya. Guterres said the worldwide community should do everything possible to secure the journalists' release and freedom of the press in Myanmar.

Based on surveys of refugees in Bangladesh, the number is much higher than Myanmar's official figure of 400.

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More than 647,000 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh since August, MSF says.

Since the Burmaese military conducted operations against the Rohingya in northern Rakhine state, the civilian government has barred most journalists, worldwide observers and humanitarian aid workers from travelling independently to the region.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said the arrests were a "threat to a democratic and peaceful development of Myanmar and that region". It also called on authorities to allow their families to meet them as soon as possible.

"For a democracy to succeed, journalists need to be able to do their jobs freely", the embassy said.

Journalists in Myanmar are facing renewed harassment, with several arrested in recent months.

The two reporters have not been charged yet, and can remain in a Myanmar prison cell for up to 28 days without being charged under the country's laws.

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