The devastation in Burma's northern Rakhine state continues, with entire Rohingya villages burned to the ground. FRANCE 24 joined a rare government trip to the refugee camps and spoke to some of those who had fled the violence.
Officials told the refugees that Burma and Bangladesh are working together to tackle the burgeoning humanitarian crisis and cautioned them that life for refugees in Bangladesh is difficult too. Authorities are working on a plan to return those who fled back to Burma, but it is difficult to imagine them returning willingly.
“We can’t live in Burma,” one refugee told FRANCE 24. “We’re afraid. We don’t even have the right to leave our homes or to go to our fields to work.”
The exodus began in late August after raids by Rohingya militants were met with a Burmese army campaign the UN says amounts to "ethnic cleansing".
Those that get to Bangladesh will join over 500,000 other Rohingya in overcrowded camps stalked by disease, hunger and insecurity.
The UN's refugee arm has said nearly a fifth of new arrivals are suffering from acute malnutrition, underpinned by hard conditions the Rohingya have endured over the last several years inside Burma, also known as Myanmar.
The Burmese army denies that ethnic cleansing is underway and has locked down the conflict-stricken area of Rakhine, denying free access to aid agencies and media.
But refugees in Bangladesh and rights groups say the army conducted a "scorched earth" campaign of murder, arson and rape to systematically drive Rohingya over the border.
Half of Myanmar's Rohingya population have fled since August, joining around 400,000 already in Bangladesh, which now hosts the world's largest refugee camp.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2017-10-11