Rohingya Muslims are facing a terrible crisis.
International media and human rights organisations have dubbed the Rohingya people one of the most persecuted ethnic groups in the world. They have no legal protection and are denied citizenship in Myanmar, leaving them vulnerable to discrimination, exploitation and violence. Most Rohingya Muslims live in the impoverished area of western Rakhine State, and are subject to harsh restrictions on their ability to work and travel.
Many Rohingya people are dependent on humanitarian aid for survival but since the escalation of fighting in October, aid deliveries have been suspended. The latest outbreak of extreme violence has forced more than 30,000 Rohingya Muslims to abandon their homes. The situation is dire, and a BBC correspondent on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border has spoken with fleeing families who have described the events in northern Rakhine as “hell on earth”.
The organisation Human Rights Watch has identified more than 120,000 homes in Rohingya villages that have been razed to the ground. Hundreds of families are currently sheltering in camps in bordering towns like Teknaf and Ukhia.
According to the UN, 150,000 people are in desperate need of humanitarian aid. At least 3,000 children under five have not received treatment for severe malnutrition and half of them are at serious risk of death.
Thousands of men, women and children are seeking safety in the neighbouring country of Bangladesh by attempting to cross the Naf River. Many of those who do make it across the border are being detained and sent back to Myanmar by Burmese authorities. Even the fortunate refugees who manage to reach makeshift camps in the town of Cox’s Bazaar are not safe. They’re struggling to survive without food and clean water, and many are malnourished.
Although the Burmese government are trying to prevent humanitarian aid from reaching the Rohingya people, Human Appeal is on the ground in Myanmar. We are still delivering life-saving emergency aid to people who have been stripped of their homes and their dignity.
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