Buddhist monks force Rohingya refugees to flee their Sri Lanka safe house

Protesters force Rohingya refugees to flee Sri Lanka safe houseReuters

Buddhist monks stormed a safe house in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo to attack Rohingya Muslims staying there.

The protesters chanted "do not allow terrorists into this country" as they entered the United Nations safe house on Tuesday 26 September, forcing 31 Rohingya refugees to flee. They were taken into police custody and moved to a safe location.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara told the South China Morning Post that the group included 16 children, seven men and seven women. He said the group had been arrested in April when they tried to illegally enter Sri Lanka. They were moved the safe house following a court order.

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"These Rohingyans are a group of terrorists. They have slaughtered our Buddhist monks in Myanmar," Akmeemana Dayarathne, a Buddhist monk who led the protest, told the crowd gathered outside the safe house.

Buddhists make up 70% of Sri Lanka's 20 million population, while Muslims account for 10%. The hardline monks in Sri Lanka have ties to Buddhist monks in Myanmar, who are accused of persecuting Rohingya Muslims in their bid to combat the "threat of Islamisation".

Around 429,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar since violence erupted in late August and the country's security forces reportedly started carrying out mass killings and arson attacks against the stateless minority group. Of the refugees in camps on the Bangladeshi border, 60% are said to be children.

Myanmar's officials have consistently denied that the army has carried out violent attacks against Rohingya Muslims, dismissing the allegations as militant propaganda designed to destroy the reputation of its army.

Aung San Suu Kyi is facing mounting criticism over her refusal to publicly condemn her army's actions and address allegations of ethnic cleansing.

Human Rights Watch has accused Myanmar's government of committing crimes against humanity and called on the UN Security Council to impose sanctions and an arms embargo.

Rohingya Muslims flee to Bangladesh from Myanmar amid mounting violenceDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

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