Türkİye, World, Asia - Pacific

'Helping Rohingya refugees is every Muslim's duty'

Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs head Ali Erbas says refugees live in vulnerable conditions

'Helping Rohingya refugees is every Muslim's duty' COX'S BAZAR, BANGLADESH - DECEMBER 20: Prime Minister of Turkey Binali Yildirim (R), his daughter Busra Koylubay (2 R), The president of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate, Ali Erbas and Turkish Red Crescent head Kerem Kinik give food to Rohingya refugees at Balukhali refugee camp during their visit in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh on December 20, 2017. ( Hakan Göktepe - Anadolu Agency )

By Mumin Altas, Sorwar Alam

COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh 

Turkey’s religious affairs head Ali Erbas said on Thursday helping Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar's state persecution to Bangladesh was the duty of every Muslim.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency at the Kutupalong camp in southeastern Bangladesh, Erbas said the refugees were living in vulnerable conditions.

“Around 15-20 people, may be 50, have been living inside a single tent. Primarily, we need to provide them decent shelter.”

Erbas visited the camp along with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirm on Wednesday and observed the situation of the refugees inside camps near the coastal Cox’s Bazar city.

“They are our brothers. We have to protect them,” he said.

Turkish aid groups have been providing humanitarian assistance at the camps.

They include Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay), Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and Diyanet Foundation.

Diyanet, headed by Erbas, has distributed 11,258 packets of food, 12,750 packets of winter clothing and 4,000 packets of regular clothing among the refugees.

A mosque at the camp will also be built.

Erbas said they will continue to support the refugees till they return to their homes in Myanmar.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

650,000 refugees, mostly children and women, fled Bangladesh since 25 Aug. 2017 when Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to the UN.

At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, according to Doctors Without Borders.

In a report published on Dec. 12, the global humanitarian organization said that the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.

The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

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