Around 45,000 Rohingya have fled fighting in Burma, UN says

Intensified fighting in Myanmar’s Rakhine state has forced around 45,000 members of the Rohingya minority to flee amid accusations of killings and burning of property, the United Nations said United Nations (UN), Friday May 24. “Tens of thousands of civilians have been displaced in recent days by fighting in the Buthidaung and Maungdaw sectors”Elizabeth Throssell, spokesperson for the United Nations human rights office, told journalists in Geneva. “About 45,000 Rohingya are believed to have fled to an area near the Naf River, close to the border with Bangladesh, in search of protection”she clarified.

Clashes have rocked Rakhine since the Arakan Army (AA) attacked junta forces in November, disrupting the ceasefire established since the military coup in 2021. The AA said it fight for more independence for the ethnic population of Rakhine State, where 600,000 people from the persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority also live.

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Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled Rakhine state in 2017 due to large-scale persecution by the Burmese army, the subject of a United Nations investigation for genocide. Mme Throssel pointed out that “more than 1 million Rohingya [se trouvaient] already in Bangladesh, having fled past purges”.

“Terrible situation”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk called on Bangladesh and other countries “to provide effective protection to those who request it, in accordance with international law, and to ensure international solidarity with Bangladesh in welcoming Rohingya refugees to Burma”specified Mme Throssel.

The spokesperson alerted “clear risks (…) of a serious increase in violence” in Rakhine State, marking the start of a battle for the town of Maungdaw, where the military has outposts and where a large Rohingya community lives.

“In this appalling situation, civilians are once again being victimized and killed, their properties are being destroyed and looted, their pleas for safety are being ignored and they are once again forced to flee their homes in a recurring nightmare of suffering.”added Mme Throssel.

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The World with AFP

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