The Rohingya are a long discriminated against minority community that live primarily in Myanmar. They are religiously Muslim and an ethnic minority that has faced marginalization by the government and population of Myanmar. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have fled the country, mostly to an oceanside stretch of Bangladesh called Cox’s Bazar.
On august 25, a Rohingya militant group attacked some police stations in Myanmar and the government responded with massive security sweeps and, by many accounts, indiscriminate attacks on Rohingya civilians. In the meantime, the Burmese government has prevented aid from reaching distressed populations in Myanmar. This has sparked a new spike in refugees fleeing the country–often in the most desperate of circumstances.
The United Nations Refugee Agency today said that some 123,000 Rohinyga have fled in recent days.
This video from follows a group of families as they flee through the jungle to safety over the border. This is what their journey looks like.
And this video, from Al Jazeera, shows an Burmese security forces firing in civilians that are fleeing the country.
The UN Refugee Agency says that about 30,000 of these new arrivals have arrived in existing refugee camps in Bangladesh, with the remainder living in local villages. The agency has issued an appeal for more emergency humanitarian aid to reach this extremely vulnerable population.
This is the newest — and fastest erupting — global humanitarian crisis. Unless the government of Myanmar ceases its aggressive response to a local insurgency, we can expect many more Rohingya to flee the country.
If you have 20 minutes and want a deeper understanding of the Rohingya refugee crisis, have a listen to this podcast episode with Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch.