THE PLIGHT OF the Rohingya people is going to further deteriorate in 2018, with more forced to flee to Bangladesh and settle in ill-equipped, overcrowded and unhealthy camps, Oxfam has warned.
The aid agency is calling on the United Nations and world leaders to work with the Myanmar and Bangladesh governments to find an immediate and lasting solution to the ongoing crisis.
The Rohingya are a statement Muslim minority in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.
They are denied citizenship in Myanmar and are denied social and political rights. Their own language is not recognised by the state and they are left off a national list of 135 recognised ethnicities.
More than 620,000 Rohingya people have poured into Bangladesh since August, running from a Myanmar military crackdown. At least 9,000 Rohingya have died in Myanmar in the space of a month between 25 August and 24 September, according to Médicins Sans Frontiéres.
For the almost one million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, the new year holds the fear of returning to Myanmar at the end of January or the threat of heavy rains and cyclone season in the spring, bringing fresh disaster in the form of deadly diseases like cholera.
Oxfam Ireland’s chief executive Jim Clarken has criticised the international community over its lack of efforts to “find a solution and ensure the dignity and safety of the Rohingya people”.
Oxfam recently spoke to more than 200 Rohingya refugees living in makeshift camps in Cox’s Bazar. The charity said that many, especially women and girls, live in fear of abuse, exploitation or trafficking.
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