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Pence schools Myanmar while US military prepares to hold back Central American refugees

US VICE-PRESIDENT Mike Pence attempted to school Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi over her country’s persecution of Rohingya Muslims at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Singapore yesterday.

Mr Pence told Ms Suu Kyi he was anxious to hear how her country was resolving the crisis and how the Rohingya could return home safely.

“The violence and persecution by military and vigilantes that resulted in driving 700,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh is without excuse,” he said.

Ms Suu Kyi responded to Mr Pence saying it was good to exchange views, but “we understand our country better than any other country does.

“I'm sure you will say the same of yours, that you understand your own country better than anybody else.

"So we are in a better position to explain to you what is happening, how we see things panning out," she said.

On Sunday, Myanmar’s Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Ministry said it was ready to begin repatriating 150 refugees a day from neighbouring Bangladesh for two weeks beginning tomorrow.

But the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Michelle Bachelet warned against the move.

She said: “The human rights violations committed against the Rohingya in Myanmar amount to the worst atrocities, including crimes against humanity and possibly even genocide.

“Returning Rohingya refugees to Myanmar at this point effectively means throwing them back into the cycle of human rights violations that this community has been suffering for decades.”

Meanwhile in Mr Pence’s own country, the military began laying down barred wired and erecting barricades at the border with Mexico on Tuesday as thousands of Central American refugees moved closer to the United States.   

Reuters reported on Tuesday that around 400 people have split from the main migrant caravan in Mexico City and arrived in the border town of Tijuana, hoping to cross there.

Since his inauguration last year, US President Donald Trump has ramped up already strict US immigration policies.

As well as getting Mexico to foot the bill for the promised “great” wall along the border, Mr Trump’s administration has split migrant children from their parents, suspended asylum claims for people who cross into the country illegally and fortified the border with over 5,200 troops.

Mr Trump has also said US troops should open fire on any migrants who might throw stones at them. 

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