Rohingya Muslims Fleeing Violence In Myanmar Fight For Survival In Bangladesh Refugee Camps

Rohingya refugees fleeing from violence in Myanmar were met with overcrowded camps in Bangladesh, with the number of refugees reaching more than a quarter-of-a-million.

The UN has confirmed that since the instalment of Myanmar’s martial law regime on Rohingya insurgents in late August, the refugee count has risen to 270,000 people. However, Bangladesh authorities were not equipped to cope with the influx of dependents, thus leaving many people to face dire humanitarian consequences, such as by lacking food, water and shelter.

Moreover, Rohingya Muslims are suffering yet another threat as they fight for survival, namely the bare essentials of sustenance, which includes space, food, water and shelter. The refugees are running from radical Buddhists ravaging their villages, which is contributing to another tragedy in which they are short of food, water, shelter, and are plagued by the sick and injured.

The refugees are fleeing from genocide in Myanmar, formerly Burma, according to reports by the International State Crime Initiative. The Rohingya Muslims are an ethnic minority group of population 1.1 million inhabiting Myanmar’s western Rakhine State. The minority group has been declared ‘stateless’ in their homeland as Myanmar refuses to grant citizenship, and have instead labelled them as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.

With that said, the UN considers them to be one of the world’s most persecuted groups and Human Rights Watch has brought light to their situation, highlighting how they are stigmatized and targeted in their own land. Meanwhile, Myanmar’s use of the martial law is directed to drive the Muslim population out of the country in order to restore and maintain the concept of Buddhist Burmese supremacy, thus demonizing the country’s Muslim population for their religion.

Furthermore, facing unjustified restrictions and the denial of human rights, Rohingya insurgents (the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army) launched an attack on police, triggering an unprecedented wave of martial hostility in the Rakhine state. Bouts of communal violence have since occurred, which was followed by the Myanmar military retaliating by lashing out and launching an ethnic-cleansing regime by firing on Rohingya Muslim populated villages, holding beheadings.

Myanmar’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, known for her peaceful resistance against the oppressive military-ruled Myanmar has been damned for her silence on the Rohingya’s plight.

The Rohingya’s desperation is evident when aid-trucks are overwhelmed by the refugees, forcing the aid workers to beat back desperate crowds. Exhausted and impoverished new arrivals flood the streets of Bangladesh with the makeshift camp’s secretary, Noor Mohammed, pleading for more supplies as they attempt to manage this unprecedented catastrophe.

“They don’t have anything to cook with, nothing to put on the ground, some children have no clothes, they’re coming naked,” says Noor Mohammed.

In the meantime, as the ethnic-cleansing unfolds and the devastated Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army has declared an immediately effective unilateral one-month ceasefire, the world watches. The group has urged humanitarian actors to deliver aids to the victims of this military crackdown during the ceasefire period, which will last until October 9, 2017. It also called for the Myanmar military to “reciprocate this humanitarian pause” however, this has been to no avail as the opposition are yet to respond.

With that in mind, the Rohingya Muslims now face two sides of a destitute and dire future: one is plagued with mass-killings and discrimination, while in the other, they are facing a shortage of the bare necessities.

Karen Cheung