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US official calls state of Rohingya refugee camps ‘shocking’

The acting US Assistant Secretary of State for population, refugees, and migration Simon Henshaw, just returned after a weeklong visit to Myanmar – US officials still refer to Myanmar by its old moniker “Burma” – and Bangladesh, and said that the conditions at the refugee camps in Bangladesh for the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar were “shocking.”

Henshaw led a high-powered delegation, which included Deputy Assistant Secretary Scott Busby from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour; acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Tom Vajda of the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs; and office director Patrician Mahoney of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

“What we saw in the camps was shocking. The scale of the refugee crisis is immense: more than 600,000 displaced from their homes since August 25. The conditions are tough. People are suffering.

“Many refugees told us, through tears, accounts of seeing their villages burned, their relatives killed in front of them. It was tough to take. Some recalled being shot as they fled.

“Despite the trauma, many expressed a strong desire to return to their homes in Burma, provided their safety, security, and rights could be guaranteed,” Henshaw recounted.

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