Bangladesh, which shares a 168-km border with Myanmar, has refused to accept more Rohingya refugees following a military crackdown in the Rakhine State of the neighbouring country.
The Myanmar authorities have confirmed 86 deaths since the crackdown was begun and that 69 of them were suspected, militants. Rights groups, however, claim the number is much higher. According to the UNHCR, about 30,000 people have been displaced by violence. The UN has already urged Bangladesh to open its border.
“Rohingya infiltration is an uncomfortable issue for Bangladesh. We don’t want illegal Rohingya immigration,” Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told journalists this week.
The bloodshed is the worst since hundreds were killed in communal clashes in the western Myanmar state of Rakhine and are posting the biggest test yet for the eight-month-old administration of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.
More than 1,000 homes have been razed in Rohingya villages in northwestern Myanmar during a military lockdown there, according to an analysis of satellite images from Human Rights Watch released on Monday that flies in the face of government denials.
The UN refugee agency called on the Myanmar government for access to allow it to distribute aid, which is denied.
“The idea is to help them where they are so that they wouldn’t be forced to cross over into Bangladesh,” Vivian Tan, regional public information officer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, told Reuters Television.
“If they can’t get the assistance where they are then if they are forced to cross into another country like Bangladesh, we’re appealing to the Bangladeshi government to honor its long tradition of hospitality and open its borders to these refugees.”
Security forces have killed almost 95 people and arrested some 400 since the lockdown began six weeks ago, according to state media reports, but activists say the number could be far higher.
Witnesses and activists have said, troops, killing Rohingya, raping women and looting and burning their houses. The government has refused to allow in international observers to carry out a full investigation.
It’s a dilemma that Rohingya Muslims are not having diplomatic support from any country. All the big states are observing silence on their issue perhaps their only crime is that they are Muslims. Bangladesh should accept and support them in these hours of need.