Australia pledges $5 million to Rohingya

September 12 16:07 2017

Almost 300,000 Rohingya have fled from Rakhine to neighbouring Bangladesh and 30,000 non-Muslim civilians have been displaced inside Myanmar after the military launched a counter-offensive following attacks by ARSA on 30 police posts and an army base last month. Myanmar denies they exist as an ethnic group and says those living in Rakhine are illegal migrants from Bangladesh. He added that he could not find his parents or his seven other sisters.

Abu Bakkar, a Rohingya refugee from Dragar Dailpara in Rakhine state, said Myanmar soldiers killed his four sons when an army unit raided their village on September 1.

Officials said they were particularly concerned that some of the homegrown groups would recruit students from the thousands of Islamic seminaries in the country to fight for the rights of the Rohingya.

Today, more than a million of them live in the country, most in the western coastal state of Rakhine, where they make up around a third of the population.

Moreover, a senior United Nations representative told AFP that more than 1,000 people may already have been killed in Myanmar, mostly Rohingya Muslims.

The burning of more villages is likely to fuel an exodus of Rohingya to neighboring Bangladesh.

Then last October things got much worse.

He said the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine are a “mixed group of people” with a history dating back 1,500 years and ancestors included Arab and Indian-origin people. More than 125,000 refugees have flooded across the border into Bangladesh.

Lt Col SM Ariful Islam, the commanding officer of the Bangladesh border guard in Teknaf, said on Friday that he was aware of at least three Rohingya injured in explosions.

Despite decades of persecution, the Rohingya largely eschewed violence.

ARSA’s declaration drew no formal response from the military or the government of Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

Around 27,000 Buddhists and Hindus have also been displaced following attacks by Rohingya militants and are receiving government help in monasteries and schools.

Myanmar on Wednesday announced that it is negotiating with China and Russian Federation to ensure they block any UN Security Council censure over the violence that has forced those people to flee.

With the Kutupalang refugee camp at Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, filling up, these people have to camp in the woods while waiting for spaces.

Meanwhile, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University in Egypt has slammed Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi for the crackdown on the Rohingya.

Bakkar said he and three of his relatives survived because they were outside when the attack occurred. “Suu Kyi assured us to ensure securities of all citizens of Rakhain state”, she said.

Discussions with the Myanmar government are “ongoing”, he said, through the USA ambassador to the country, which also is known as Burma.

The State Department is working with global partners, including the Office of the United Nations’ refugee agency, the worldwide Committee of the Red Cross and the global Organization for Migration, to provide emergency assistance for the displaced, the statement said.

One aid worker who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media said “stocks are running out” with the refugees’ needs far greater than what they had imagined.

Amnesty International reports that Myanmar authorities have laid down landmines on the country’s border with Bangladesh, which have detonated, killing and injuring civilians.

That same day, a nine-member Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, appointed by Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and led by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, released a report on the situation in Rakhine.

It published its findings in August.

Reported byBenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service. Note the crowds lining the bank (top).

UNHCR  Vivian Tan

Australia pledges $5 million to Rohingya
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