'Textbook example of ethnic cleansing' occurring in Myanmar

The violence and injustice faced by the ethnic Rohingya in Myanmar "seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing", the United Nations human rights chief has said.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein denounced how "another brutal security operation is underway in Rakhine state, which he said this time was on a "far greater scale".

UN rights investigators have been barred from entering the country, formerly Burma, from where the UN says 270,000 people have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh in the last three weeks.

Speaking at the start of a UN Human Rights Council session, Zeid, a Jordanian prince, said he was "further appalled" by reports of Myanmar authorities planting land mines along the border.

"The Myanmar government should stop pretending that the Rohingya are setting fire to their own homes and laying waste to their own villages," he added, calling it a "complete denial of reality" that hurts the standing of a country that recently enjoyed "immense good will."

"I call on the government to end its current cruel military operation, with accountability for all violations that have occurred and to reverse the pattern of severe and widespread discrimination against the Rohingya population," he said.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, seen as the leader of Myanmar, has failed to condemn the violence against Muslims Credit: AP

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled in the wake of violence from nationalist militias, who have torched dozens of villages, killing Muslim in the their path.

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

Rohingya refugees have been packed into camps in Bangladesh after fleeing over the border Credit: AP

The Bangladesh government says it has offered a plot of land for a new camp to shelter Rohingya Muslims who have fled recent violence in Myanmar.

The violence has driven nearly 300,000 Rohingya to flee Buddhist-majority Myanmar, with many of them packed into existing camps or huddled in makeshift settlements that have mushroomed along roadsides and in open fields across Cox's Bazar district on the border.