Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims flee 'ethnic cleansing'

Aid agencies are warning of a growing humanitarian emergency in Bangladesh as Rohingya Muslims flee neighbouring Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) after an upsurge in violence.

Makeshift camps are overflowing and aid is being prevented from getting in as refugees escape from violence in Burma's Rakhine.

The situation is worsening, in just two weeks 123,000 Rohingya - mainly women children and the elderly - have crossed into Bangladesh.

It is claimed Rohingya Muslims are being ethnically cleansed from Myanmar.

The reason they are fleeing is due to nationalist militias, who some say are backed by the Burmese Army, who have torched dozens of villages, killing Muslims in their path.

Critics say the Burmese government itself have stoked ethnic tensions which have seen ultra-nationalist Buddhist mobs surround many Muslim Rohingya villages.

An injured elderly woman and her relatives rush to a hospital in Bangladesh. Credit: AP Photo/Bernat Armangue

There has been criticism of the country's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi - known as "The Lady" who effectively runs the country after her party won a landslide in the first free vote in a generation two years ago.

However, despite winning the Nobel Peace Prize for years of peaceful resistance against military dictatorship she has failed to condemn the violence against Muslims in Burma.

Flames in Myamar are seen from the Bangladeshi side of the border. Credit: AP Photo/Bernat Armangue

"The moral issue here is as a government, as a Nobel Laureate, we are expecting her to say something at least for the Rohingya community as a human being, not more than this," said Kyaw Win of the Burma Human Rights network.

On Tuesday a Labour MP described the situation as a "campaign of ethnic cleansing" and argued in the Commons that urgent intervention was required.

Newly arrived Myanmar's Rohingya ethnic minority refugees scuffle for food rations distributed by Bangladeshi volunteers. Credit: AP Photo/Bernat Armangue

Labour's Yasmin Qureshi (Bolton South East) argued the situation required urgent intervention.

Over a number of years there had been "systematic" rape, murder, burning and beheading of people in the Rohingya community, Ms Qureshi said.

She added: "This is one of the worst outbreaks of violence in decades, yet the international community is effectively remaining silent as we watch another Srebrenica and Rwanda unfold before our eyes."