Nearly 3 lakh Rohingya Muslims could flee the violence in Myanmar to Bangladesh, United Nations officials told Reuters on Wednesday. According to official estimates, about 1.4 lakh Rohingyas have already reached Bangladesh’s border region of Cox’s Bazar since violence worsened in Rakhine on August 25.
Bangladesh’s spokesperson for the World Food, Programme Dipayan Bhattacharyya, said UN officials had earlier expected only around 1.2 lakh refugees. “They are coming in nutritionally deprived,” he said. “They have been cut off from a normal flow of food for possibly more than a month. They were definitely visibly hungry and traumatised.”
In her first comments since the violence broke out, Myanmar’s de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday claimed the situation in Rakhine was being distorted by a “huge iceberg of misinformation”. She told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “We know very well, more than most, what it means to be deprived of human rights and democratic protection.”
The Nobel Prize winner has been criticised for failing to stand up for more than 10 lakh stateless Rohingyas in Rakhine. She has come under pressure from Muslim-majority countries such as Bangladesh and Indonesia to stop the violence against the Muslims.
The Rohingya crisis
The current 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.
On September 1, the Myanmar military had said that nearly 400 people, mostly Rohingya Muslims, had died in the violence that ensued. 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.
India to deport all undocumented refugees: Report
The Indian government is likely to tell the Supreme Court that it is going to deport all undocumented refugees in the country, not just the Rohingyas, reported The Indian Express. On Monday, the Supreme Court asked the Centre for a detailed reply on why it planned to deport thousands of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar after a plea challenging the government’s decision was filed.
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. The government is expected to file its reply on September 11.
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 that as per the Constitution of India, the Right to Life and Personal Liberty applies to all – irrespective of their citizenship. A day earlier, the Human Rights Watch had urged New Delhi to “abide by its international legal obligations” and not forcibly deport Rohingyas.
Around 40,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees live in India, mostly in Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan and Delhi.