Conflicts: Fighting and attacks force 45,000 people to flee in Myanmar

Fighting and attacks force 45,000 people to flee in Myanmar

Rohingya refugees from Myanmar: harassed and sometimes forcibly recruited. Photo

© Km Asad/ZUMA/dpa

In the military dictatorship of Myanmar, the army is in retreat in many places and rebel armies are gaining ground. The situation is devastating for civilians – especially Rohingya, who are treated with hostility by everyone.

Violence and attacks by the military and rebel armies have Myanmar in Southeast Asia has once again forced thousands of civilians to flee.

In the north of the Rhakine region, where the Muslim Rohingya minority lives, 45,000 people have flocked to the border region with Bangladesh, reported the UN Human Rights Office in Geneva. One refugee reported seeing dozens of dead people on the escape route, said the head of the Human Rights Office for Myanmar, James Rodehaver. According to credible information, the town of Buthidaung has been largely burned down since last Friday. Rodehaver spoke from Bangkok in neighboring Thailand via video link to reporters in Geneva.

It is not yet clear who is responsible for the fires. The military had previously withdrawn from the city. The rebel group Arakan Army has taken over command there. According to Rodehaver, they are responsible for at least four beheadings. The UN Human Rights Office called on Bangladesh to grant protection to refugees if they ask for it. It called on other countries to support the country financially in this task.

Civilians “as cannon fodder”

According to Rodehaver, civilians, especially Rohingya, are harassed by both the military and the Arakan Army and are sometimes forcibly recruited, “as cannon fodder,” as he said. The Muslim minority has no support in the multi-ethnic state. They are discriminated against by practically all sections of the predominantly Buddhist population. More than a million Rohingya fled to Bangladesh during previous waves of violence. Only around 600,000 Rohingya are believed to be living in Myanmar.

The Arakan Army is one of the three major rebel groups that brought about a turning point in the war against the military by joining forces last year. The military seized power again in 2021 after around five years with a civilian government in Myanmar. According to Rodehaver, the army is in retreat on virtually all fronts.


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