Officials in Myanmar are dubbing the religious minority of Rohingya Muslims “fake news,” The New York Times reported Saturday.
“There is no such thing as Rohingya. It is fake news,” said U Kyaw San Hla, an officer in Rakhine’s state security ministry. Rakhine is a state in Myanmar.
The expression is one that President Trump uses frequently to refer to news coverage that he deems negative or inaccurate.
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar in recent months as the country’s military targets the group. Numerous world leaders, including in the United States, have dubbed the effort “ethnic cleansing.”
The United Nations released a human rights report in October indicating that security forces “scorched dwellings and entire villages, were responsible for extrajudicial and summary executions, rape and other forms of sexual violence, torture and attacks on places of worship.”
The report added that security forces aimed to destroy traces of Rohingya history, culture and knowledge. Officials deny that the Rohingya people exist.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last month declared the violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar is “ethnic cleansing,” while warning the U.S. government could impose new penalties on Myanmar.
Myanmar has moved toward civilian government in recent years after decades of military rule, though the military retains significant power.