UN rights commissioner urges Bangladesh, other states to protect Rohingya refugees from Myanmar News
UN rights commissioner urges Bangladesh, other states to protect Rohingya refugees from Myanmar

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Liz Throssell urged Bangladesh and other states on Friday to effectively protect Myanmar’s minority Rohingya community amid the fleeing of the Rohingya community from the ongoing fighting in Myanmar.

According to Throssell, over one million Rohingya sought refuge in Bangladesh and about 45,000 Rohingya sought protection from the fighting by fleeing to the vicinity of the Naf River, which is located close to the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

Throssell stated that the ongoing fighting displaced tens of thousands of Rohingya individuals in the towns of Buthidaung and Maungdaw in Rakhine, Myanmar. Buthidaung was burned two days after the Arakan army, in conflict with Myanmar’s ruling military junta, allegedly gained control of the town upon the junta’s retreat. Survivors who fled Buthidaung said the Arakan army abused and extorted money from them while they fled to other Rohingya villages outside the town.

In response to reports of shootings at unarmed fleeing villages, beheadings and the burning of homes of the Rohingya community by the junta and Arakan army, the UN Human Rights Office wrote, “[C]ivilians are once more victimized, killed, their properties destroyed and looted, their demands for safety and security ignored, and they are again forced to flee their homes in a recurring nightmare of suffering.”

Throssell urged for an immediate end to the violence and for refugees to be protected regardless of identity. Throssell wrote:

The High Commissioner calls on Bangladesh and other [s]tates to provide effective protection to those seeking it, in line with international law, and to ensure international solidarity with Bangladesh in hosting Rohingya refugees in Myanmar. … Prompt and unhindered humanitarian relief must be allowed to flow, and all parties must comply fully and unconditionally with international law[—]including measures already ordered by the [ICJ], for the protection of Rohingya.

The Rohingya are a minority Muslim community that predominantly live in Rakhine, Myanmar. A report released in January alleged that ethnic and religious minorities in the majority Buddhist country are being targeted by the military. In March, a UN official expressed concerns for the Rohingya community as the junta’s attacks impacted the Rohingya community to the largest extent.

Previously on January 16, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Indonesia to safeguard the well-being of Rohingya refugees who sought refuge in Indonesia, where increasing insecurity and tension have prompted refugees to seek refuge instead of neighboring Bangladesh. HRW urged Indonesian authorities to cease all pushbacks of boats carrying Rohingya refugees, allow refugees to disembark in the nearest safe port and provide protection and humanitarian assistance to them.