TOKYO: Myanmar’s ambassador to Japan said Thursday there is no ethnic cleansing or genocide of Rohingya Muslims in his country despite violence that has led a half million of them to flee the country. Myanmar security forces responded to Rohingya militant attacks with a broad crackdown in August in Rakhine state, which borders Bangladesh. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled across the border in what the United Nations has called “textbook ethnic cleansing.” The ambassador, Thurain Thant Zin, denied reports of human rights abuses in Rakhine by the military and told reporters in Tokyo that his government was providing humanitarian aid to all affected by the violence. “To say the Myanmar military conducted those illegal acts is untrue and cannot be true,” he said. “The Myanmar government protests the use of such terms as ethnic cleansing and genocide,” he said. The ambassador said the government is prepared to help resettle all who have fled. “Some people have said they are too afraid to return to their original homes and want a new place to live,” he said. “We have promised the Myanmar government will provide support for reconstruction.” Myanmar’s Buddhist majority denies that Rohingya Muslims are a separate ethnic group and regards them as “Bengalis” who migrated illegally from Bangladesh. Myanmar’s military commander in chief, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, also denied that large numbers of people had fled. Published in Daily Times, October 13th 2017.