PKonweb Report — Today, the total population of Rohingya in Bangladesh is estimated to be around 900,000, more than the 500,000 to 700,000 Rohingya believed to be remaining in Myanmar. The United Nations has called the actions of Myanmar military “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”– the Rohingyas have faced persecution at the hands of the military for decades.
UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi said Wednesday that Rohingya refugees who have fled recent violence in Myanmar for shelter in neighboring Bangladesh are in desperate need of help, and called on the Myanmar authorities to halt the violence.
Grandi, who returned Tuesday night from a trip to Bangladesh, said he had rarely seen people who had left their homes with so little.
“They have absolutely nothing,” he said. “Evidently they had to flee from a very urgent situation, from very sudden violence — so they need everything,” he said report CNN.
Rohingya who’ve fled have spoken of their homes being torched, of neighbors turning on neighbors, of relatives taken away never to be seen again.
According to the latest report from the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) in Bangladesh, at least 480,000 Rohingya refugees have arrived in Bangladesh since clashes began on August 25.
In 1982, Rohingya were not recognized as one of the 135 official ethnic groups in Myanmar and were barred from citizenship and basic human rights. Since then, a number of crackdowns on the Rohingya in Rakhine State have forced hundreds of thousands to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, as well as other countries in Southeast Asia.
Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said that including some 300,000 Rohingya refugees already in Bangladesh, between 700,000 and 800,000 people were now sheltering there in overcrowded and insanitary conditions, posing a risk of epidemics.
On top of that, he warned that “the risk of the spread of terrorist violence in the whole region is very, very high” if the situation is not resolved.
“It is very clear that the cause of this crisis is in Myanmar, but the solution of this crisis also lies in Myanmar,” he said.
The Myanmar authorities have said the violence in Rakhine State was instigated by Rohingya militants and deny UN accusations of “ethnic cleansing.”