More than 7 lakh stateless Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state after being subjected to violence by the country’s security forces. Myanmar treats Rohingyas as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and does not acknowledge their rights as an official ethnic group. The United Nations has described the violence as “ethnic cleansing”. The country’s defacto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has also been criticised for not doing enough to resolve the Rohingya crisis.
Thousands held peaceful marches and rallies chanting: “We want justice from the UN”. A giant banner reading “Never Again: Rohingya Genocide Remembrance Day. 25 August, 2018,” was put up at the Kutupalong camp, one of the biggest Rohingya refugee camps.
Some protestors were seen wearing bandanas with the slogan “Save Rohingya”, while others waved flags. “We faced genocide,” said Noor Kamal, a protestor. “Last year, August 25, we faced genocide in Myanmar. We want justice for that.”
The United Nations on Saturday said significant progress has been made in protecting thousands of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, but lives “will once again be at risk” if funding is not secured, PTI reported.
Deputy Director-General of Emergency Preparedness and Response for the UN World Health Organisation Peter Salama said that disease outbreaks had been controlled at a camp in Cox’s Bazar despite “all the conditions being in place for a massive epidemic”.
More than 130 members of parliament from five countries in south-east Asia have demanded that Myanmar be investigated by the International Criminal Court, reported The Guardian.
Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights has called for the Myanmar military to be “brought to justice” for its “ murderous operation in Rakhine State”. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is an intergovernmental organisation comprising 10 Southeast Asian countries.
Meanwhile, the UK’s Department for International Development on Saturday called on the international community to prioritise long-term support for Rohingya refugees, reported The Daily Star. “The roots of this crisis go back decades, but 12 months ago, we saw an unprecedented campaign of terror by the Burmese military, resulting in 700,000 people fleeing across the border into Bangladesh,” said International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt.
Mordaunt said Myanmar should cooperate with “the asks of the international community and that nations work to meet to needs of these vulnerable people”.