Burmese officials accused of assaulting Rohingya women as Myanmar emergency continues

UN medics have reported that dozens of Rohingya women have been aggressively sexually assaulted by Myanmar security officials. Since late August, eight medical professionals currently working in Bangladesh have treated 25 women with physical injuries consistent with serious sexual assault.

Over the last month, nearly half a million people have fled their homes for the border of Bangladesh. They have crossed the border with nothing but the clothes on their backs and stories of mass murder, gang rape and whole villages being razed to the ground.

Life in the Bangladeshi border camps

In the border town of Cox’s Bazar, thousands of families have arrived to find refugee camps already filled to breaking point with Rohingya people displaced by previous outbreaks of violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar. New arrivals are unable to find any shelter and are sleeping on the side of roads, with no protection from the torrential rain or hot sun.

Monsoon season has arrived in Bangladesh, turning the dirt roads of Cox’s Bazar into a slurry of mud and human excrement. Local and international aid agencies are struggling to meet the needs of the Rohingya refugees, who are hungry, thirsty and in need of medical attention. Many people were wounded by bullets and landmines while fleeing Myanmar and require urgent treatment.

The situation in Myanmar

The latest crisis in Myanmar saw violence erupt on 25th August, after Rohingya militants attacked police stations, killing 12 people. The Burmese military conducted a brutal crackdown and Myanmar’s government has subsequently been accused of ‘ethnic cleansing’ by the United Nations.

Homes were burned to the ground, unarmed men and women were shot as they ran away, children were separated from their parents. Chaos and terror pervaded western Myanmar as desperate families fled for their lives.

Who are the Rohingya Muslims?

The Rohingya Muslims are often described as the most persecuted minority on earth. For decades, they have faced discrimination in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, where they are considered a stateless people.

The Burmese government continue to deny the Rohingya people citizenship, despite the fact that the Rohingya Muslims have roots in Myanmar, dating back to the eighth century. They are routinely denied certain jobs, state education and freedom of movement within Myanmar.

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Human Appeal’s aid effort

In partnership with a local aid agency, we are continuing to distribute food parcels amongst the Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar. 450 families have already received food parcels containing rice, flour, lentils, cooking oil, sugar, salt and milk. We are also ensuring that as many people as possible receive non-food items, including cooking utensils, plates, cutlery, mosquito nets, clothes, blankets, tents, water purification tablets and soap.

In the Ambari village camp, Sittwe Township, Myanmar, we’ve been able to provide food parcels to 332 families, benefiting approximately 2,324 people. Our food parcels include rice, beans, lentils, cooking oil, noodles, sugar, salt and dried chilies, allowing families to prepare hot, nutritious meals.

What you can do to help

There are still thousands of hungry and frightened families who desperately need our help. With your continued support, we can provide Rohingya people who have lost everything with the basic tools they need to survive.

A food parcel that will feed a family of five for a whole month costs just £65. An emergency kit containing food, clean water and medical supplies costs £100.

You can save a precious life today.

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