End night­mare, UN chief tells Myan­mar govt

Khaleej Times - - FRONT PAGE -

cox’s bazar (Bangladesh) — UN chief An­to­nio Guter­res ex­horted Myan­mar’s lead­ers to end the “night­mare” faced by Ro­hingya refugees flee­ing an army cam­paign, af­ter at least 23 peo­ple drowned with scores more feared dead when a boat car­ry­ing Ro­hingya fam­i­lies cap­sized off Bangladesh.

Over a mil­lion Ro­hingya have poured into Bangladesh, flee­ing a vi­cious mil­i­tary crack­down on rebels that has gut­ted vil­lages across the Rakhine state. —

cox’s bazar — More than 60 Ro­hingya Mus­lim refugees from Myan­mar are be­lieved to have drowned when their boat cap­sized, the lat­est vic­tims in what the United Na­tions says is the world’s fastest-de­vel­op­ing refugee emer­gency.

The refugees drowned in heavy seas off Bangladesh late on Thurs­day, part of a new surge of peo­ple flee­ing a Myan­mar mil­i­tary cam­paign that be­gan on Au­gust 25 and has trig­gered an ex­o­dus of more than half a mil­lion peo­ple.

In­ter­na­tional anger with Myan­mar over the cri­sis is grow­ing.

In New York, US Am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions Nikki Ha­ley called on coun­tries to sus­pend pro­vid­ing weapons to Myan­mar over the vi­o­lence. It was the first time the United States had called for pun­ish­ment of Myan­mar’s mil­i­tary, but she stopped short of threat­en­ing to reim­pose US sanc­tions which were sus­pended un­der the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Bud­dhist-ma­jor­ity Myan­mar re­jects ac­cu­sa­tions of eth­nic cleans­ing and crimes against hu­man­ity and has de­nounced rights abuses.

Its mil­i­tary launched a big of­fen­sive in re­sponse to co­or­di­nated at­tacks on the se­cu­rity forces by Ro­hingya in­sur­gents in the north of Rakhine State on Aug. 25.

United Na­tions Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res told the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil the vi­o­lence had spi­ralled into the “world’s fastest-de­vel­op­ing refugee emer­gency, a hu­man­i­tar­ian and hu­man rights night­mare”.

and it should shame se­nior burmese lead­ers who have sac­ri­ficed so much for an open, demo­cratic burma.” Nikki Ha­ley, US Am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions

at one point, he (the cap­tain) chose to an­chor the ves­sel, but that proved to be a fa­tal mis­take as the rough seas were much worse than ex­pected.” Joel Mill­man, In­ter­na­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Mi­gra­tion

Colonel Anisul Haque, head of the Bangladeshi bor­der guards in the town of Tek­naf, said more refugees had ar­rived over the past day or two af­ter the num­ber had seemed to be tail­ing off, with about 1,000 peo­ple land­ing at the main ar­rival point on the coast on Thurs­day.

Aid groups now say 502,000 refugees have ar­rived in Bangladesh since late Au­gust.

The refugee boat that cap­sized went over as dark­ness fell, in driv­ing wind and rain and high seas.

An of­fi­cial with the In­ter­na­tional Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Mi­gra­tion said 23 peo­ple were con­firmed dead and 40 were miss­ing. Seven­teen sur­vived.

“We’re now say­ing 40 miss­ing, which sug­gests the to­tal fa­tal­ity rate will be in the range of 63,” the of­fi­cial, Joe Mill­man, told a news brief­ing in Geneva. One sur­vivor, Ab­dul Kalam, 55, said: “My wife, two daugh­ters and a grand­son were among the dead.”

Kalam said vil­lagers had been sum­moned to a mil­i­tary of­fice and told there were no such peo­ple as Ro­hingya in Myan­mar. Af­ter that he de­cided to leave and headed to the coast with his fam­ily.

A spokesman for the UN refugee agency said a fifth of new ar­rivals were suf­fer­ing from acute mal­nu­tri­tion.

The Bangladeshi Red Cres­cent said its mo­bile clin­ics were treat­ing an in­creas­ing num­ber of peo­ple with acute watery di­ar­rhoea. The World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion has said one of the dis­eases it is par­tic­u­larly wor­ried about is cholera.

In a sharp ramp­ing up of the pres­sure on Myan­mar, also known as Burma, Ha­ley echoed UN ac­cu­sa­tions that the dis­place­ment of hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple in Rakhine State was eth­nic cleans­ing.

Speak­ing at a United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil meet­ing, Ha­ley pressed for mem­bers of Myan­mar’s mil­i­tary to face ac­tion from the global body in re­sponse to the vi­o­lence and ex­pressed sharp crit­i­cism of the civil­ian gov­ern­ment.

“We can­not be afraid to call the ac­tions of the Burmese au­thor­i­ties what they ap­pear to be: a bru­tal, sus­tained cam­paign to cleanse the coun­try of an eth­nic mi­nor­ity,” said Ha­ley. “And it should shame se­nior Burmese lead­ers who have sac­ri­ficed so much for an open, demo­cratic Burma,” she added, us­ing an al­ter­na­tive name for Myan­mar. — Reuters, AFP


Nur Fatema, a sur­vivor, touches the face of her nine-month old son, who died af­ter a boat with Ro­hingya refugees cap­sized as they were flee­ing Myan­mar. The bod­ies of vic­tims were taken for the mass funeral just be­hind Inani Beach, near Cox’s Bazar, on...


A boy is pulled to safety as Ro­hingya refugees scuf­fle while queue­ing for aid at Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh. —

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