Amid Rohingya Problem, All Eyes On PM Modi's Myanmar Stopover

Amid Rohingya Problem, All Eyes On PM Modi's Myanmar Stopover

Kerry Wise
September 2, 2017

Most of Burma's estimated 1 million Rohingya Muslims live in northern Rakhine state.

A series of coordinated attacks by Rohingya insurgents on security forces in the north of Myanmar's Rakhine state on Friday and ensuing clashes triggered the exodus, while the government evacuated thousands of Rakhine Buddhists.

The rag-tag unit has a real fight on its hands against Myanmar's well-equipped army, which has been offered military help from Bangladesh to root out rebels near the border.

In recent months, the group has tried to dispel that perception and bolster the argument that they are freedom fighters who took up arms only to defend their people, said David Mathieson, an independent analyst in Yangon, Myanmar.

More than 400 Hindus from Rakhine have also crossed into Bangladesh, after armed men attacked their village, killing and looting.

"They're clearly harming their cause more than they are helping it", she said.

The Hindu refugees said they had fled their home to escape the persecution being carried out by groups of masked gunmen in Maungdaw amid the escalation of tension in Rakhine.

Pictures that emerged from the tragedy showed bodies of women and children, still dressed, lined up in rows and partially covered by black tarpaulin. He reiterated the fact that India is not a signatory to any of the Refugee Conventions and therefore is not bound to host the Rohingyas.

UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, on Thursday said the "worsening cycle of violence" in Rakhine was of "grave concern and must be broken urgently".

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The crisis erupted after Rohingya rebels attacked 30 police stations last Friday, triggering a military response.

The ARSA emerged as a force in October previous year when their attacks killed Myanmar border police, prompting a crackdown by security forces that killed scores and forced 87,000 people to flee to Bangladesh.

He also noted with appreciation the efforts of Bangladeshi authorities to meet the "dire needs" of those crossing the border.

Aid workers have told horror stories of desperate refugees staggering to safety despite bullet wounds and burn injuries.

Together with his wife and five-year-old daughter Abdullah they cooked sticky rice, fetched plastic sheets and empty water bottles, preparing for a 20 km (12 miles), days-long trek in the monsoon rain through the mountains to the border.

"This act would also be in contradiction with the principle of "Non-Refoulement", which has been widely recognised as a principle of Customary International Law", the plea said while seeking a direction to the government not to deport them and other members of Rohingya community.

In 2012, 10 Rohingya men were killed after three Rohingya were accused of raping and murdering a Buddhist woman.

Officer-in-charge of Teknaf police station M Mainuddin Khan said 15 of the bodies were floating inside Bangladesh territory of the Naf river.

"Everything has been burned to ashes by now", one eyewitness told Human Rights Watch (HRW), adding that security forces had shot civilians as they ran away.