Spokesperson for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Duniya Aslam Khan spoke in the Palais des Nations, Geneva, on Tuesday, about the refugee crisis affecting the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, as over 123,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar over the country’s northern border since late August.
Khan said the UNHCR is “gravely concerned about the continuing conflict in Myanmar and by reports that civilians have died trying to seek safety.” Spokesperson for the International Organisation for Migration Leonard Doyle also spoke at the press conference, expressing concern for the security and living situations of the refugees. “Many of these people are living in terrible situations,” Doyle said, “the appeal is for international aid to enable us to give live saving services, along with our partners including clean water, sanitation, shelter, food security, health care, education, psycho-social support for the most vulnerable people. many of whom are suffering of acute mental trauma, are survivors of sexual violence, not to mention actual wounds.”
Violence has erupted in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, home to the Rohingya Muslims, on August 25, after an attack on the country’s police force, allegedly by Rohingya militants, left 12 officers dead. Myanmar’s military carried out a crackdown on the Rohingya, claiming to be targeting militants in response. However, according to the UN, an estimated 123,600 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh in the past 16 days, amid widespread reports of indiscriminate killings, arson, looting and rape in Rohingya villages. According to the UN already 400,000 Rohingya refugees resided in Bangladesh following past humanitarian crises.