United Nations fears "further exodus" of Muslim Rohingya into Bangladesh

Posted October 07, 2017

With the number of refugees seeking shelter in Bangladesh exceeding 500,000, the Bangladesh government on Thursday declared its decision to identify the Rohingyas as "forcefully displaced Myanmar citizens".

This time Bangladeshi government, while extending them hospitality has been strict and ordered restrictions including no sim cards, and confining the whole refugee population to one camp in Kutpalong.

"The Rohingya people must be able to return voluntarily with safety and dignity".

About 515,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh since attacks by Rohingya militants in August triggered a sweeping Myanmar military offensive that the United Nations has branded ethnic cleansing, a term the government rejects.

Rohingya Muslim refugees exhausted by their journey rest upon arrival on the Bangladeshi shoreline of the Naf river after crossing the border from Myanmar in Teknaf on September 30.

Buddhist-majority Myanmar has blocked most access to the area, although some agencies have offices open in towns there and the International Committee of the Red Cross is helping the Myanmar Red Cross to deliver aid.

She has said Myanmar will take back anyone verified as a refugee, but that could take months or years and is unlikely to solve the immediate crisis.

The violence, backed by radical Buddhist monks, has left scores of Rohingya villages torched and completely destroyed.

"This flow out of Myanmar has not stopped yet, it's into the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya (who are) still in Myanmar, we want to be ready in case there is a further exodus", said the UN's under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, Mark Lowcock, in a Friday press briefing in Geneva.

"India remains deeply concerned at the situation in Rakhine state of Myanmar".

The multilateral treaty under the United Nations defines who a refugee is, and sets out the rights of individuals granted asylum and the responsibilities of nations that provide asylum.

Three groups of diplomats were taken to three different areas on Monday, said Ye Htut, district administrator of Maungdaw in Rakhine.

The plight of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority who are reviled and denied citizenship in Myanmar, has roused anger across the Islamic world, with protests held in Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia. "The problem has been created in Myanmar and solution has to be found in Myanmar".