Bangladesh boat capsize toll rises to 38

Bangladesh boat capsize toll rises to 38

Bangladesh boat capsize toll rises to 38

Almost 9,000 Rohingya Muslims, many sick and fearing for their lives, have fled the worst violence to grip northwest Myanmar in at least five years, while thousands more are stuck at the border with Bangladesh or preparing to reach it in coming days.

The Rohingya are quite simply one of the most helpless and forsaken peoples of the world.

After the latest attacks, Myanmar's government has insisted they should only be referred to as "extreme Bengali terrorists". "But if they wanted attention, they're going to get it".

Though global attention falls on them from time to time, the Rohingya remain bureaucratically stateless, persecuted at home and unloved overseas.

There have also been reports of innocent civilians being killed and injured amid the ongoing violence and of villages being burned down. The situation in the region sharply sharpened on August 25, when hundreds of militants from the Arukan army for solidarity Rohingya, which the authorities consider to be a terrorist organization, carried out attacks on 30 police stations. Since then, government forces have embarked on a widespread crackdown that led to reports of extrajudicial executions of civilians.

With media access to Rakhine severely restricted, casualties are hard to verify.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has appreciated Bangladesh's steps for providing assistance to Rohingya people and resolving the ongoing Rohingya crisis as he phoned his Bangladesh counterpart, President Abdul Hamid.

Rights groups believe the true death toll is likely much higher.

Aid workers giving emergency shelter and food in Bangladesh said the refugees were in a "very desperate condition".

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Reports streaming from the area suggest the military has torched over 10 Rohingya settlements in the crisis-stricken Rakhine State.

"The worsening cycle of violence is of grave concern and must be broken urgently", the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee said in a news release Thursday.

Over the years, tens of thousands have attempted to flee across the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea to Thailand and Malaysia. The affliction of statelessness in an era of the modern nation-states means that the Rohingya are barred from the privilege of state education and are often the target of violence.

But their struggles generate little sympathy among the majority-Buddhist Burmese population. That set off a surge of anti-Muslim feeling throughout the country.

"Only the military's commander in chief can protect the lives and the properties of the people", Wirathu said. Suu Kyi, celebrated for her role in fighting for democratic rights in Burma, has remained conspicuously insensitive to Rohingya grievances.

But some Rohingya accuse the rebels of provoking the army into revenge attacks and inviting nothing but add to the misery of the long-persecuted minority. It's unclear how many fighters the group now has.

Tension has always been high between the Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists, leading to bloody rioting in 2012. ICG says there are indications Jununi and others received militant training in Pakistan and possibly Afghanistan.

On August 18, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had issued notice to the centre over its plan to deport Rohingya immigrants who are scattered across India.

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