Ro­hingya hold 'silent protest' on an­niver­sary of ex­o­dus to Bangladesh


DHAKA: Ro­hingya Mus­lim refugees in Bangladesh held a "silent protest" on Tues­day to mark the third an­niver­sary of clashes be­tween Ro­hingya in­sur­gents and Myan­mar se­cu­rity forces that set off a huge move­ment into Bangladesh of peo­ple seek­ing safety.

More than 1 mil­lion Ro­hingya live in the world's largest refugee set­tle­ment in south­ern Bangladesh, with lit­tle prospect of re­turn­ing to Myan­mar, where they are mostly denied cit­i­zen­ship and other rights. The refugees said that be­cause of the novel coro­n­avirus they would not hold a mass gath­er­ing to mark what they call "Re­mem­brance Day". Au­thor­i­ties say 88 cases of the virus have been found in the camps and six peo­ple have died.

Three years ago, Ro­hingya in­sur­gents raided 30 po­lice posts and an army base in Myan­mar's Rakhine State, killing at least 12 mem­bers of the se­cu­rity forces.

The Myan­mar mil­i­tary crack­down that fol­lowed forced 730,000 Ro­hingya to flee to Bangladesh, join­ing more than 200,000 al­ready there. "We were forcibly driven out from our mother­land to the world's largest refugee camp," Ro­hingya groups said in a state­ment.

The United Na­tions said the crack­down by the Myan­mar mil­i­tary was car­ried out with geno­ci­dal in­tent. Myan­mar de­nies geno­cide, say­ing its forces were en­gaged in a le­git­i­mate cam­paign against the Ro­hingya in­sur­gents, and it was the in­sur­gents who were re­spon­si­ble for most of the vi­o­lence, in­clud­ing the torch­ing of vil­lages. The refugees said Ro­hingya had faced "hidden geno­cide" in Myan­mar for decades and they ap­pealed to the United Na­tions and other or­gan­i­sa­tions to de­clare what hap­pened in 2017 geno­cide."Please stand with in­no­cent Ro­hingya, and then hope­fully we can re­turn to our home," they said in the state­ment. In some rare good news for the refugees, Bangladesh said on Mon­day it would soon lift a ban on high-speed mo­bile in­ter­net in the camps that au­thor­i­ties im­posed last year cit­ing con­cern that so­cial me­dia would be used to stir panic.

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