Myanmar's "systematic" crackdown on the Rohingyas has been designed to permanently eliminate the minority Muslim community from their home in Rakhine state, the United Nations said on Wednesday.
"Brutal attacks against Rohingya in northern Rakhine State have been well-organized, coordinated and systematic, with the intent of not only driving the population out of Myanmar but preventing them from returning to their homes," a UN investigation found.
The probe is based on interviews with people who fled to neighboring Bangladesh since attacks by militants on Myanmar's security forces in Rakhine on 25 August, which sparked a major military backlash. More than half a million people have fled in the latest exodus, according to the UN.
The UN probe found that the latest wave of military "clearance operations" in Rakhine in fact began before 25 August, possibly in early August, contradicting claims by Myanmar that the crackdown was a response to militant strikes.
The investigation broadly outlines an army-led campaign to erase the Rohingyas' connection to their homeland in the majority Buddhist nation, where they have suffered persecution for decades.
Teachers as well as cultural, religious and community leaders have also been targeted in the latest crackdown "in an effort to diminish Rohingya history, culture and knowledge", the report said.
"Efforts were taken to effectively erase signs of memorable landmarks in the geography of the Rohingya landscape and memory in such a way that a return to their lands would yield nothing but a desolate and unrecognizable terrain," it added.
The findings were based on interviews with Rohingya who arrived in Bangladesh between 14 and 24 September. The UN team said it spoke to hundreds of people in 65 interviews, some with individuals and some with groups as large as 40. UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, has previously described the crackdown as "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing."
Earlier, addressing the First Summit on Science and Technology of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Astana, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said his country fiercely condemns massacre and mass violence against Muslims in Myanmar.
“Azerbaijan is making a considerable contribution to Islamic solidarity. We are actively fighting against Islamophobia in different parts of the world. We resolutely condemn crimes against Muslims, particularly recent massacre and mass violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. We urge international organizations, world community, political and religious leaders to take necessary steps to prevent what is happening in Myanmar,” Ilham Aliyev said.
On September 8, the Azerbaijani government sent 100 tons of humanitarian aid to help Rohingya Muslims who are suffering from the ongoing mass violence in Myanmar.