Violence in Myanmar Pushes at Least 18,500 Rohingya Into Bangladesh

Those who crossed into Bangladesh this week have limited access to relief aid at makeshift camps. The country already hosts an estimated 400,000 Rohingya who have fled Myanmar in recent years. The border between the two countries is officially closed.


San Win, right, who fled from Myanmar with her children, arrived at Sittwe’s jetty on Wednesday. Credit Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In a statement released on Wednesday, William Swing, the migration office’s director general, urged international aid for those seeking refuge in Bangladesh, and called for the violence in Rakhine to end.

His remarks echoed calls earlier this week from Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who condemned the violence in western Myanmar and said the government should “issue clear instructions to security forces to refrain from using disproportionate force.”

At the United Nations on Wednesday, Ambassador Matthew Rycroft of Britain called a Security Council meeting about Myanmar because of the violence.

“There is a threat to international peace and security, and it is right that the Security Council should take time today to be briefed on that and consider whether there is more that we should be doing,” he said before entering the meeting.

Asked what could be done, he said, “I doubt that there will be unanimity to do anything as there are certain countries on the Council that tend to resist anything else, but I think it’s an important moment to take stock.”


Supporters of nationalist Buddhist monks at a rally on Wednesday in Yangon demanding wider powers for the military to crackdown on Rohingya militants. Credit Associated Press

On Wednesday in Myanmar’s capital, Yangon, hundreds of Buddhist nationalists gathered to support a harsher crackdown on the Rohingya.

The protesters urged security forces to assert control over Rakhine State and denounced an international advisory commission report issued last week that called for urgent government action to protect the rights of Muslims.

The commission, led by Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general, urged the Myanmar government to extend citizenship status for the Rohingya and allow them freedom of movement.

Mr. Annan said the commission’s proposal was intended to “trace a path to lasting peace, development and respect for the rule of law.”

“Violence will not bring lasting solutions to the acute problems that afflict Rakhine State,” he said.

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