The limbo of Rohingya refugees

The ruins of a market destroyed by fire at a Rohingya village in Rakhine State, Myanmar The ruins of a market destroyed by fire at a Rohingya village in Rakhine State, Myanmar REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

25 January 2017
Allegations of abuses by the military are pushing the Rohingya ethnic minority away from homeland Rakhine State, Myanmar

Several thousands of people of Rohingya ethnic background have been trying to flee their homeland in the last three months to seek refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh, following allegations of serious human rights abuses carried out by Myanmar’s security in response to an attack on a police post by Rohingya militants in October 2016.

Although not all the claims could be independently verified, several sources report on credible allegations of raping, arbitrary arrests and villages being set on fire. The government denies all charges while blocking access to the affected areas to humanitarian aid. This is pushing people to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh, which is feeling overwhelmed by the influx and is now pushing illegal immigrants back to Myanmar.

The Rohingya are considered to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh by Myanmar’s government and are therefore denied citizenship, while Bangladesh regards them as foreigners. Human Rights Watch reported on a touching testimonial from an elderly woman who is a Rohingya refugee living in a camp on the border between the two countries: “No one wants us. It feels like a sin to have been born.”

 

For further information:

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/11/24/asia/myanmar-rohingya-refugees-bangladesh/
https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/11/23/bangladesh-should-accept-protect-rohingya-refugees
http://www.irinnews.org/in-depth/denied-oppression-myanmar%E2%80%99s-rohingya-people
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-rohingya-exclusive-idUSKCN12S0AP

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