Pope appeals for end to violence against Rohingya in Mynanmar

29 August, 2017, 00:34 | Author: Evan Mason
  • A BGB personnel stands guard the Rohingya refugges in Ghumdhum in Naikhyangchhari upazila of Bandarban

Rohingya: The Myanmar Army has reportedly opened fire on unarmed Rohingya men fleeing the bloodshed in an attempt to cross into Bangladesh border after a rebel group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) launched a pre-dawn raid on police outposts, trying to break into the Army base in Rakhine region killing almost 100 people of which 80 were Rohingya Muslims.

The group also urged the members of ASEAN, the neighboring countries Bangladesh, India and China to push Myanmar to abide by rule of law and refrain from human rights violations, prevent the use of disproportionate force on the Rohingya civilians and safely return the civilians to their respective villages. Such measures amounting to ethnic persecution have led thousands of Rohingya to flee to countries like Bangladesh, India and Thailand. He urged Bangladesh to seek worldwide support to provide food, medical and humanitarian care for the new arrivals.

The security situation in northern Rakhine State is "under control", according to the Rakhine State chief minister, U Nyi Pu, who visited the affected area on Sunday.

"I left my five other children and my wife in Myanmar".

The new arrivals faced "an urgent need for shelter, as well as food, water and health care", the UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Human Affairs (OCHA) said on Monday.

Sectarian violence between the Rohingya and local Buddhist communities broke out in 2012, leaving more than 100 dead and the state segregated along religious lines.

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"The soldiers and security forces were not able to go as far as they thought they could", Nyi Pu said. Reuters reporters have heard gun fire from the Myanmar side in the last three days.

"Even being delayed or pushed back for 24 hours could put people into imminent danger", said Matt Smith founder of Asia-based rights group Fortify Rights. Many Buddhists across Myanmar regard them as illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh. Some have been turned back by Bangladeshi authorities. "Communities are providing food and water to those confined at the border, and agencies are providing emergency food and health services to new arrivals".

One refugee, Amena Khatun, 31, told CNN that the Myanmar army had shot at her and her companions as they made their escape Sunday.

Farid Alam, a Bangladeshi who lives in Amtoli village, through which many Rohingya have crossed the border, told the AP on Saturday that over last two days, at least 2,000 Rohingya had entered Bangladesh.

The clash, which was the worst since October 2016, has prompted the government to evacuate staff and thousands of non-Muslim villagers.

"These factors, in combination with the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Rohingya communities that resulted from separate violence in 2012, and the military crackdown past year that targeted civilians, create an environment where ARSA can increase its legitimacy and recruiting base among local communities and more easily intimidate and kill Rohingya who disagree with it and lack any real protection from the state".

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