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EOS Alerts 4-9-2017

Myanmar/Bangladesh: 75,000 Rohingya Flee to Bangladesh

Renewed violence forces Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh

Nearly 75,000 Rohingya Muslims have now fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh, after a large deployment of Myanmar’s troops to Rakhine State and a fresh bout of violence erupted on 25 August. Refugee camps are now overflowing in the Cox Bazaar area near the Naf river, which divides the two countries. The increase in military troops to Rakhine has drawn criticism from the United Nations (UN) who have warned that the deployment is a “cause for major concern.” In recent days, tens of thousands of Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh to escape mass killings they say are being perpetrated by Myanmar forces. Rakhine has witnessed bloody violence for almost a year and the Myanmar authorities have been accused of crimes which may amount to ethnic cleansing of the Muslim minority Rohingya group. Myanmar officials blame the group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) for the violence, but fleeing Rohingya civilians say a campaign of arson and killings by the Myanmar army is aimed at forcing them out of the country. The UN has documented mass gang rape, killings – including of children and babies – violent beatings and frequent disappearance of individuals. Myanmar has long faced criticism over its treatment of the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine.

Rakhine is home to one of the largest stateless populations in the world, in spite of their belief that they are indigenous to Rakhine. The Rohingya have been called the most persecuted people in the world - at this moment in time - and are denied Myanmarese citizenship. Physical violence against them is common, with hundreds killed and thousands of houses belonging to them burned down since 2012. Reports of sexual abuse by the police and even the army have also been rife, with many Rohingya denied access to healthcare, means of employment and food. One hundred thousand people are estimated to have been displaced as a result of the violence.

Those operating or residing Myanmar are advised to be aware of the ongoing and extreme tensions between the national military, rebel insurgent groups and Rohingya Muslims. Avoid areas of tension, including Rakhine, due to the credible risk of extreme violence. Violent clashes between warring factions are likely to continue. Monitor local media for more information concerning the fighting and follow all directives issued by local authorities.

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