Fighting in Myanmar’s Rakhine State Forced Some 45,000 Rohingya to Flee: UN

Sat May 25 2024
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GENEVA, Switzerland: The United Nations warned on Friday that escalating fighting in Myanmar’s conflict-torn Rakhine state has forced around 45,000 minority Rohingya to flee amid allegations of killings and property burning.

“Tens of thousands of civilians have been displaced in recent days by the fighting in Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships,” Elizabeth Throssell, the UN rights office spokeswoman, told reporters in Geneva.

She further said that an estimated 45,000 Rohingya have reportedly fled to the area on the Naf River near the border with Bangladesh to seek protection.

Fighting in Myanmars Rakhine State Forced Some 45000 Rohingya to Flee UN 1

Clashes have rocked Rakhine since November, when the Arakan Army (AA) attacked the ruling junta’s forces, ending a ceasefire that had largely been in place since a military coup in 2021.

The AA says it is fighting for greater autonomy for the ethnic Rakhine population in the state, which is also home to about 600,000 members of the persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled Rakhine in 2017 during a military crackdown that is now the subject of a UN genocide trial.

“There are already more than a million Rohingya in Bangladesh who fled the purges,” Throssell emphasized.

UN rights chief Volker Turk called on Bangladesh and other countries to “provide effective protection to those seeking it in accordance with international law and ensure international solidarity with Bangladesh in hosting Rohingya refugees in Myanmar,” Throssell said.

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She warned of “clear and present risks of a serious expansion of violence” in Rakhine.

She pointed to the start of the battle for the town of Maungdaw, where the army has bases and where a large Rohingya community lives.

The UN rights office spokeswoman further said that in this appalling situation, civilians are once again being persecuted, killed, their property destroyed and looted and their demands for security are being ignored.

“Once again they are forced to leave their homes in a recurring nightmare of suffering.”

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