UN seeks ‘mas­sive’ help for Ro­hingya refugees

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

The UN 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 Au­gust 25 on se­cu­rity posts and an army camp in which about a dozen peo­ple were killed.

The UN has called for a mas­sive in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion of re­lief op­er­a­tions to help the refugees.

“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 Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Mi­gra­tion, told a news con­fer­ence in the Bangladeshi cap­i­tal.

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.

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

The gov­ern­ment of 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.

“Eth­nic cleans­ing” is not rec­og­nized as an in­de­pen­dent crime un­der in­ter­na­tional law, the UN Of­fice on Geno­cide Preven­tion says, but it has been used in UN res­o­lu­tions and ac­knowl­edged in judg­ments and in­dict­ments of the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Tri­bunal for the for­mer Yu­goslavia.

A Ro­hingya Mus­lim woman, who crossed over from Myan­mar into Bangladesh, shouts for help as her rel­a­tive lies un­con­scious on the shore of Bay of Ban­gal af­ter the boat she was in cap­sized at Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh, on Thurs­day.

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