World, Asia - Pacific

Rohingya group voices concern over Rakhine attacks

The international group calls for urgent protection and safety of Rohingya population after military's use of force

Rohingya group voices concern over Rakhine attacks

By Kubra Chohan


The European Rohingya Council (ERC) on Sunday voiced concern over the plight of Rohingya population following the attacks in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

In a press release, the Rohingya body expressed deep concern and called on the international community for an "urgent appeal for protection and safety in Rakhine state".

Deadly attacks on border posts in western Myanmar's Rakhine state broke out on Friday, resulting in mass civilian casualties, leaving over 100 dead. Later, media reports emerged saying Myanmar security forces reportedly displaced thousands of Rohingya villagers blazing their homes with mortars and machine guns.

The group said many people including women and children took shelter in the jungle, others risked crossing the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, whereas most were stranded on the Myanmar-side of the Naf River as Bangladesh tightened its border security and continued to push back the fleeing Rohingya.

"We appeal the international community to exercise 'the Responsibility to Protect' as the Rohingya civilian population plunges into another episode of widespread 'crimes against humanity' under the hands of Myanmar Armed Forces," said the body in the statement.

The group also said the timing of the release of ex-UN Chief Kofi Annan’s Rakhine State Advisory Commission final report and the alleged clashes was no coincidence.

"It is a calculated attempt to undermine the recommendations of the commission, which proposes granting of Rohingya citizenship, freedom of movement, healthcare and education, access to humanitarian aid, media civilians," said the statement.

The region has seen simmering tension between its Buddhist and Muslim populations since communal violence broke out in 2012.

A security clampdown launched in October last year in Maungdaw, where Rohingya form the majority, led to a UN report on human rights violations by security forces that indicated crimes against humanity.

The UN documented mass gang rape, killings, including of babies and children, brutal beatings and disappearances. Rohingya representatives have said approximately 400 people were slain during the operation.

The group also urged the members of ASEAN, the neighboring countries Bangladesh, India and China to push Myanmar to abide by rule of law and refrain from human rights violations, prevent the use of disproportionate force on the Rohingya civilians and safely return the civilians to their respective villages.

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