DACCA - Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh on Tuesday implored the United Nations rights chief for protection after recent murders that have again left members of the stateless minority fearful for their safety.

Michelle Bachelet spent the day meeting with residents of the sprawling and squalid relief settlements housing nearly a million ethnic Rohingya who fled persecution in neighbouring Myanmar.

Security in the camps came back into focus this month when two refugee community leaders were shot dead, allegedly by an insurgent group active in the camps. Most inhabitants of the camps fled Myanmar in 2017 after an army offensive against the mostly Muslim minority.

The crackdown is now the subject of a case at the UN's highest court, with Myanmar's authorities accused of genocide.

This is the first ever visit to Bangladesh by any UN High Commissioner for Human Rights since the establishment of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights back in 1993. The visit comes ahead of the fifth anniversary this month of the Rohingya exodus from Myanmar to Bangladesh.

The massive exodus of Rohingya was sparked by the “Clearance Operation”, a military crackdown by Myanmar, which the UN called a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” and other human rights groups dubbed as “genocide”.