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Rohingya killed in first month of Myanmar violence: MSF

Rohingya killed in first month of Myanmar violence: MSF”

Reuters news agency called on Myanmar to immediately release two of its journalists who were arrested for possessing "important secret papers" obtained from two policemen who had worked in Rakhine state, where violence widely blamed on security forces has forced more than 630,000 minority Rohingya Muslims to flee into neighboring Bangladesh. The 1923 law established during Burma's British colonial-era carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

Wong said the signing of an agreement for the return of the refugees between the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh is "premature".

In this image released by the Myanmar Ministry of Information and broadcast by Myanmar's MRTV on December 13, Reuters reporters Wa Lone, left, and Kyaw Soe Oo stand handcuffed in Myanmar.

Ko Wa Lone, 31, and Ko Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, were walking north on the Number 3 Main Road in Mingalardon Township, near the corner of Nilar Road, at 11:30pm on Tuesday.

"We can't confirm where they were even when the Ministry of Information had already announced that they were arrested under the Official Secrets Act", she said.

"They are not here", said Police Second Lieutenant Tin Htway Oo, according to Pann Ei, wife of reporter Wa Lone.

"I think it is important that the global community does everything possible to allow not only for the journalists to be released - freedom of the press is very important - but also to allow for those reasons that might justify or might have justified the reason or the reasons of the arrest to disappear", he said, referring to the wider crackdown on Rohingya. She said that U.S. Ambassador Scot Marciel on Wednesday had a conversation with two government officials in Burma who seemed "genuinely unaware" of the situation. "Freedom of the press is essential for democracy and must be preserved", she said.

Reuters could not immediately reach Tin Htway Oo for comment.

The UN and United States have described the military operation as "ethnic cleansing" of the Muslim minority, but have not released specific death tolls. "We are outraged by this blatant attack on press freedom".

Over the next 24 hours, Reuters colleagues in Yangon filed a missing persons report, went to three police stations, and asked a series of government officials what had happened to the two reporters. "He was just doing his job as a journalist and we hope that they will be released soon".

"We are deeply concerned over possible violation of their citizens' rights since we have learned about the journalists not being allowed to contact their family members after their arrest", a statement from the NGO reads.

"Wielding such a blunt legal instrument has an intimidating effect on other journalists, and poses a real threat to media freedom", the Bangkok-based club said in a statement, calling for the journalists to be released.

Expressing deep anguish and concern over escalation of violence in Rakhine State and the attacks against unarmed civilians, world organisations have urged Myanmar to prioritise protection of civilians in Rakhine State and address the roots of the conflict.



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