The Rohingya refugee crisis is the worst in decades



Sun, 24 Sep 2017 - 03:40 GMT


Sun, 24 Sep 2017 - 03:40 GMT

The Rohingya refugee crisis is the worst in decades - Press photo

The Rohingya refugee crisis is the worst in decades - Press photo

LONDON - 24 September 2017: The weekly outflow from Myanmar is the highest since the Rwandan genocide, The Economist reported Saturday.

More than 420,000 terrified Rohingyas have crossed the border into Bangladesh. The UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has proclaimed the exodus “unprecedented in terms of volume and speed”, and Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, the UN’s human-rights chief, called it a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

On August 25 a group of militant Rohingya Muslims attacked police bases in northern Myanmar. The army retaliated with untrammeled fury, burning villages, killing civilians and raping women.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of the government and a winner of the Nobel peace prize, has repeatedly failed to condemn the attacks.

Speaking on September 19, she again avoided mentioning the Rohingyas by name, and flatly claimed that no violence or village clearances had occurred since September 5th.

Amnesty International, a human-rights group, branded the speech “a mix of untruths and victim-blaming”.

In 1982 the military government excluded the Rohingyas from a list of more than 130 officially recognized ethnic groups in the country, dismissing them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. That rendered them, in effect, stateless, and their mistreatment intensified.

In 1991-92, around 600,000 Rohingyas fled across the border to escape violent persecution by the army. On average, 120,000 people have crossed the border per week, although the rate has recently started to slow.

This suggests that the current refugee flow from Myanmar is swifter even than the exodus from Rwanda in 1994. Some 2.3 mln people fled the country, more than a third of the population.

The refugee crisis in Syria is the worst of the past decade. Some 5.5 mln people have left the country. But averaging yearly flows, about 33,000 people left the country every week in 2013, the worst year.

Nearly half have gone to Bangladesh, which already hosted around 400,000 Rohingyas from previous outflows. A further 700,000 live in other countries in Asia and the Middle East.



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