Rohingya Today: Part 1

Regarded as among the most persecuted people in the world, more than 1 million Rohingya now live in teeming refugee camps in eastern Bangladesh, driven from their homes in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state by a series of deadly communal clashes and military-backed raids. 1 Since August 25, 2017, close to 700,000 Rohingya have entered Bangladesh, almost half of whom are now settled in holding camps on the narrow strip of land in Cox’s Bazar District. Having fled unimaginable violence and persecution in their homeland of Myanmar, nearly one million Rohingya refugees are now living in terrible conditions Cox’s Bazar, ‘the world’s largest refugee camp’ (UN).

The most recent bout of violence began in August 2017 and in the last four weeks alone more than 400,000 Rohingya people have fled Myanmar to nearby Bangladesh Amidst reports of killings by Myanmar security forces, satellite images suggest entire villages have been burned to the ground.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million. Since August 2017, more than 745,000 Rohingya refugees, including 400,000 children, have fled violence in Myanmar and settled in Cox’s Bazar District, Bangladesh. In August 2017, after they became the targets of a military-led campaign of brutal violence, an estimated 900,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state into Bangladesh, joining nearly 300,000 people who fled Myanmar in a previous exodus. Following a concerted campaign of extreme violence by the Myanmar authorities against Rohingya people in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in August 2017, over 700,000 Rohingya crossed over the border into the Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh.

The U.N. Secretary General issued a statement, 13 September 2017, implying that the situation facing the Rohingya in Rakhine state was ” ethnic cleansing” He urged Myanmar authorities to suspend military action and stop the violence—insisting that Myanmar’s government uphold the rule of law, and (noting that “380,000” Rohingya had recently fled to Bangladesh) recognize the refugees’ right to return to their homes. Escalating violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in late August 2017 forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, including many Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh, fearing for their lives. Relaying information from colleagues in Cox’s Bazar – a series of camps that have been home to hundreds of thousands of mainly Rohingya refugees since they fled a military operation led by the Myanmar military in the summer of 2017 – Mr. Verhoosel said that some families had lost everything.

More than 900,000 Rohingya are now living in camps south of Cox’s Bazar in southeast Bangladesh in the world’s largest refugee settlement, with no sign of a return in the near future to the country where they were refused citizenship and had limited access to education and healthcare. Cox’s Bazar – The Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) partners – UN agencies such as IOM, UNHCR, and WFP, as well as NGOs, working in support of the Government of Bangladesh, are assisting thousands in the host community and Rohingya refugee camps who have been impacted by severe rain and winds that have continued to batter Cox’s Bazar since Saturday (07/09). Some 740,000 of the Muslim minority fled to southeast Bangladesh after a military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in August 2017, joining 200,000 Rohingya already there.

Over 900,000 Rohingya are in Bangladesh alone, including 759,000 who fled a campaign of violence by the Myanmar military in Rakhine State that began in August 2017. According to United Nations estimates, some 1 million Rohingya have fled Myanmar since August 2017, and have been set up in two camps by the Bangladesh government in Cox’s Bazar. When violence broke out in Rakhine State in Myanmar in August 2017, more than 700,000 Rohingya people fled for their lives into neighbouring Bangladesh.

Since August 2017, an intensified assault by Myanmar authorities has resulted in a rapid increase of Rohingya pouring into Bangladesh, and the expansion of refugee settlements in the district of Cox’s Bazar has strained humanitarian and government relief efforts. The obvious question raised by this account is whether the 700,000 Rohingya refugees who fled Rakhine State for Bangladesh in 2017 (again as a result of a murderous assault by the Myanmar military) will again be induced to participate in a repatriation that is premature, involuntary and unsafe, and in which UNHCR is fully engaged.+For a more detailed discussion of the issues raised here, see Jeff Crisp, ‘We Must Not Repeat the Shameful History of Returning Rohingya Refugees’, Refugees Deeply, 17 January 2018 ( -must-not-repeat-the-shameful-history-of-returning-rohingya-refugees ). There are certainly reasons to fear such an outcome. Around 740,000 Rohingya from Myanmar ‘s Rakhine state escaped in August 2017 during the brutal offensive, joining another 200,000 who fled earlier persecution in vast camps in southeast Bangladesh.

In the first four weeks of he conflict, over 400,000 Rohingya refugees (approximately 40% of the remaining Rohingya in Myanmar) fled the country on foot or by boat (chiefly to Bangladesh—the only other country bordering the Rakhine state area under attack) creating a major humanitarian crisis In addition, 12,000 Rakhine Buddhists, and other non-Muslim Rakhine state residents were displaced within the country. There were an estimated 1 million Rohingya living in Myanmar before the 2016-17 crisis 1 16 By December 2017, an estimated 625,000 refugees from Rakhine, Myanmar, had crossed the border into Bangladesh since August 2017. Since August last year, more than 680,000 Rohingya people, the majority of them children and women, have flooded into Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh after fleeing their homes in Rakhine State.


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