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Rohingyas facing 'catastrophic' situation

World Desk | newsbangladesh.com
Inserted: 11:47, Thursday 14 September 2017 || Updated: 17:06, Saturday 16 September 2017


Rohingyas facing 'catastrophic' situation - World

Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar are facing a catastrophic humanitarian situation, according to the UN secretary general, reports BBC.

Antonio Guterres said alleged attacks by security forces on Rohingya villagers were completely unacceptable. The army says it is fighting militants and denies targeting civilians.

Later the UN Security Council called for urgent steps to end the violence.

Some 379,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh since violence began last month. Whole villages have burned down.

The Rohingya, a mostly Muslim minority in the Buddhist-majority Rakhine state, have long experienced persecution in Myanmar, which says they are illegal immigrants. They have lived in Myanmar, also known as Burma, for generations but are denied citizenship.

The number of Rohingya arriving in Bangladesh has tripled since a week ago. EPA

But Myanmar officials say the country's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, will miss a key debate next week in the UN General Assembly.

She will, however, address the nation on TV on 19 September, the day the General Assembly meets. Officials said she would "speak for national reconciliation and peace".

Suu Kyi has been criticised by former supporters in the West for failing to do enough to prevent the violence in Rakhine state.

The UN refugee agency says not enough aid is getting through to the Rohingya who have fled to Bangladesh.

Guterres called on the international community to provide whatever assistance they could.

"The humanitarian situation it is catastrophic," he said.

"When we met last week there was 125,000 Rohingya refugees who had fled into Bangladesh. That number has now tripled to nearly 380,000.

"Many are staying in makeshift settlements or with those communities who are generously sharing what they have. But women and children are arriving hungry and malnourished."

Ms Suu Kyi said the crisis was being distorted by a

Asked whether the crisis could be categorised as ethnic cleansing, Guterres said: "A third of the [Rohingya] population had to flee the country - can you find a better word to describe it?"

The UN secretary general said that he had condemned attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), the rebel group fighting the military.

But he added that military action should also be suspended and those who had fled be allowed the right to return home.

The Council issued a unanimous statement which condemned "the initial attack on security forces and subsequent violence".

It went on to express "concern about reports of excessive violence during the security operations" and call for "immediate steps to end the violence in Rakhine, de-escalate the situation, re-establish law and order, ensure the protection of civilians".

The statement also called for the refugee problem to be resolved.

Speaking to journalists, UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said it was significant that everyone was able to agree on a statement.

It was the first time in nine years that this had happened in relation to Myanmar, he added.

 

BBC/newsbangladesh.com/tbs

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