In the last week, nearly 400 people, mostly Rohingya Muslims, have died in violence in Myanmar, Reuters reported on Friday. The country’s military has said that this figure includes 13 security forces personnel and two government officials.
“As of August 31, 38,000 people are estimated to have crossed the border into Bangladesh,” United Nations officials said. The exodus began after Rohingya militants allegedly attacked police posts in the restive Rakhine state on August 25. They had targeted 30 police sites at an Army base in a coordinated strike.
The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army had claimed responsibility for the attack. Violence has been rife in the region, with clashes between Muslim and Buddhist communities.
While the Myanmar Army has claimed that it is clearing out “extremist terrorists”, the Rohingyas fleeing the country have said that there is a “campaign of arson and killing” aimed to force them out.
On Thursday, Bangladeshi border guards recovered the bodies of at least 26 people, including children, that had washed ashore after their boats capsized in the Naf river, Al Jazeera reported. Nearly 20,000 Rohingyas are stuck at the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh, United Nations officials have said, as government authorities at Cox’s Bazar have denied them entry.
Myanmar treats Rohingyas as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and does not acknowledge their rights as an official ethnic group. The community has been subjected to violence by the Buddhist majority and the Army in Myanmar. The country’s de-facto leader and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi has been criticised for failing to stand up for more than 1 million stateless Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine.
SC to hear plea against India’s decision to deport Rohingyas
Meanwhile, in India, the Supreme Court will hear a plea challenging the government’s decision to deport Rohingya Muslim refugees to Myanmar on September 4, PTI reported on Friday. The petition, filed by two Rohingya Muslims, said they were facing persecution in Myanmar and sending them back was in violation of various international conventions.
On August 18, India’s National Human Rights Commission had issued a notice to the Home Affairs Ministry over its decision. The commission had said said that as per the Constitution of India, the Right to Life and Personal Liberty applies to all – irrespective of their citizenship.
Around 40,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees live in India across Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan and Delhi.