Tusk criticizes Myanmar over plight of Rohingya minority

Pauline Gross
October 8, 2017

More than half a million Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since attacks by militants belonging to the Muslim minority on Myanmar police posts sparked brutal reprisals by security forces.

But UNICEF chief Anthony Lake and UN emergency relief coordinator Mark Lowcock said in an appeal for $430 million to provide aid that "the needs (of the Rohingya) are growing at a faster pace than our ability to meet them".

Myanmar considers the Rohingyas - many of whom have lived in the country for generations - illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and denies them citizenship rights.

Lowcock said talks between Myanmar and Bangladesh on a repatriation plan were a positive step.

In an interview, Arsa leader Ata Ullah linked the creation of the group to communal violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine in 2012, when almost 200 people were killed and 140,000, mostly Rohingya, displaced.

"Security forces were to blame for a disproportionate response to Rohingya insurgent attacks six weeks ago".

The view is widely shared by the Buddhist majority, who have shown little sympathy for the Rohingya, lavishing unexpected support on an army that once ruled the country with an iron fist.

She pointed out that the Rohingyas were leading inhuman life and that they were being subjected to repression.

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The International Organization for Migration estimates that 2,000 Rohingya are arriving in Bangladesh every day, according to Joel Millman, an IOM spokesman.

After a few days of lull, the exodus of Rohingya to Bangladesh has resumed on a large scale this week, mainly due to the lack of food in western Burma, where the suffering is "unimaginable", according to the UN.

The visiting diplomat said a solution to the Rohingya crisis lies within the domestic framework of Myanmar and said the government of Myanmar has to take back the people who had to flee.

Myanmar has come under global criticism for failing to stop the recent violence in its Rakhine state and in turn an exodus that has become the largest refugee crisis to hit Asia in decades.

The Rohingya, described by the United Nations as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

United Nations -led aid bodies have appealed for $434 million over six months to help up to 1.2 million people - including 300,000 Rohingya already in Bangladesh before the latest crisis and 300,000 Bangladeshi villagers in so-called host communities.

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Relieving dramatic overcrowding in the two existing camps - Kutupalong and Nyapara - which are now twice their population prior to the latest crisis -is also a priority. Murphy said efforts were under way to identify those responsible for rights violations.

Other reports by GizPress

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