20 Rohingya Muslim bodies were pulled out of a river near border of Myanmar and Bangladesh
Nay Pyi Taw ,Sept1:The bodies of 20 Rohingya Muslims were pulled out of a river Thursday along the border of Myanmar and Bangladesh, across which thousands have fled this week. Twelve of the dead were children.
In just one week, almost 50,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, according to estimates by the UN.
As many as 27,000 of the displaced people crossed the Bangladeshi border to camps in areas around Cox’s Bazar, while a further 20,000 are in no-man’s land between the two countries.
“The worsening cycle of violence is of grave concern and must be broken urgently,” the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee said in a news release Thursday.
The exodus began last Friday after the Myanmar government intensified “clearance operations” following an attack by Rohingya militants on border posts that left 12 security officials dead.
The Rohingya, a Muslim minority in the predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, are considered some of the most persecuted people in the world. Myanmar, also known as Burma, considers them Bangladeshi interlopers, and Bangladesh says they’re Burmese.
The 20 bodies were pulled early Thursday from the Naf River, Ariful Islam, commanding officer of the Bangladesh Border Guard in Teknaf, told CNN.
He said they may have been on a boat that capsized trying to make it across the river to Bangladesh.
“The situation is not good. The Rohingyas are all coming across to escape,” he said.
“We can see the smoke on the other side; we can hear the gunfire, they fire very frequently. The intensity of the influx is getting more and more each day.”
Thousands of refugees flee across border
Islam said his team of border guards are intercepting Rohingya refugees arriving in Bangladesh to “prevent the illegal intrusion.” He estimates they have sent around 1,000 people back to Myanmar since clashes began a week ago.
Myanmar state media reported Tuesday that more than 110 people had died since Friday’s “coordinated attacks by extremist terrorists.”
Who are the Rohingya?
- The Rohingya are a stateless Muslim minority in Myanmar’s Rakhine state thought to number about 1 million people.
- Myanmar does not recognize them as citizens or one of the 135 recognized ethnic groups in the country.
- Myanmar regards them as illegal immigrants, a view rooted in their heritage in East Bengal, now called Bangladesh.
- Though many Rohingya have only known life in Myanmar, they are widely viewed as intruders from across the border.
- According to Human Rights Watch, laws discriminate against the Rohingya, infringing on their freedom of movement, education and employment.
- They are denied land and property rights and ownership, and the land on which they live can be taken away at any given time.
While thousands of Rohingya refugees have made it across the border to Bangladesh, thousands of others are stranded in a no man’s land between the two countries, the International Organization for Migration said.
The organization said it’s unclear how many people have made it into camps along the Bangladeshi border. Aid agencies working in the camps are compiling numbers since there is no registration process for undocumented Myanmar nationals in Bangladesh.