UN seeks 'mas­sive' help for Ro­hingya flee­ing Myan­mar 'eth­nic cleans­ing'

Daily Messenger - - International -

DHAKA/ YAN­GON: The United Na­tions ap­pealed on Thurs­day for mas­sive help for nearly 400,000 Mus­lims from Myan­mar who have fled to Bangladesh, with con­cern grow­ing that the num­ber could keep ris­ing, un­less Myan­mar ends what crit­ics de­nounce as “eth­nic cleans­ing”.

The Ro­hingya are flee­ing from a Myan­mar mil­i­tary of­fen­sive in the western state of Rakhine that was trig­gered by a se­ries of guer­rilla at­tacks on Aug. 25 on se­cu­rity posts and an army camp in which about a dozen peo­ple were killed.

The United Na­tions has called for a mas­sive in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion of re­lief op­er­a­tions to help the refugees, and a much big­ger re­sponse from the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

“We urge the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to step up hu­man­i­tar­ian sup­port and come up with help,” Mo­hammed Ab­diker, di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions and emer­gen­cies for the In­ter­na­tional Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Mi­gra­tion, told a news con­fer­ence in the Bangladeshi cap­i­tal. The need was “mas­sive”, he added.

The vi­o­lence in Rakhine and the ex­o­dus of refugees is the most press­ing prob­lem No­bel Peace lau­re­ate Aung San Suu Kyi has faced since be­com­ing na­tional leader last year.

U. N. Sec­re­tary- Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res and the U. N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil on Wed­nes­day urged Myan­mar to end the vi­o­lence, which he said was best de­scribed as eth­nic cleans­ing.

The gov­ern­ment of Bud­dhist- ma­jor­ity Myan­mar re­jects such ac­cu­sa­tions, say­ing it is tar­get­ing “ter­ror­ists”.

Nu­mer­ous Ro­hingya vil­lages in the north of Rakhine have been torched but au­thor­i­ties have de­nied that se­cu­rity forces or Bud­dhist civil­ians set the fires. They blame the in­sur­gents, and say 30,000 non- Mus­lim vil­lagers were also dis­placed.

Smoke was ris­ing from at least five places on the Myan­mar side of the bor­der on Thurs­day, a Reuters re­porter in Bangladesh said. It was not clear what was burning or who set the fires.

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