Expressing concern over the crisis in Myanmar, the United States has urged authorities to allow humanitarian access to restive Rakhine state. Refugees arriving in already packed camps in neighbouring Bangladesh, have harrowing tales of murder, rape and widespread arson to narrate. During the past two weeks, nearly 164,000 Rohingya have fled.
Aljazeera has quoted State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert as saying, “There has been a significant displacement of local populations following serious allegations of human rights abuses – including mass burnings of Rohingya villages and violence conducted by security forces and also armed civilians.” He went on to say “We again condemn deadly attacks on Burmese security forces, but join the international community in calling on those forces to prevent further attacks on local populations.”
According to UN sources more than 250,000 refugees, most of them Rohingya, have fled Myanmar into Bangladesh since the violence began last October. Despite the fact that the Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi says that her government was doing its best to protect everyone in Rakhine, she has turned blind eye to 1.1 million people who have been persecuted. Her attitude has led critics to demand revocation of her Nobel Peace Prize which she won in 1991 as a champion of democracy.
The situation of Myanmar Muslims is very pathetic. Myanmar army has been trying to force them out of Rakhine state with a campaign of arson and killings forcing them to flee to Bangladesh. As revealed by medical charity Doctors Without Borders (known by its French acronym MSF) “Many refugees are stranded in no-man’s land between the border with Myanmar.”
In a tear-jerking incident, police in Bangladesh recovered the bodies of 17 people, many of them children, who drowned when boats packed with Rohingya refugees sank at the mouth of the Naf River. One of the Rohingya refugees, Tayeba Khatun said she and her family had waited four days for a place on a boat after fleeing her township in Rakhine. She recalled “People were squeezing into whatever space they could find on the rickety boats. I saw two of those boats sink.”
Though the Bangladeshi philanthropists are coming forward for relief work they are falling short of food as more people arrived. People are hungry, starving to death together, said Mazor Mustafa, a Bangladeshi businessman.