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Newly Displaced Rohingya Need Urgent Aid

200,000 Newly Displaced Rohingya Need Urgent Humanitarian Aid


 

Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK is calling for an emergency humanitarian aid corridor from Bangladesh into areas of northern Rakhine State under the control of the Arakan Army.

 

The population of Buthidaung town, which had grown significantly due to hosting Rohingya internally displaced persons (IDPs) caught up in the conflict between the Arakan Army and the Burmese military, was expelled by the Arakan Army on the 17th May, creating a humanitarian crisis.

 

200,000 Rohingya have been newly displaced by the fighting, arson attacks on their homes, and other serious human rights violations by the Arakan Army. Approximately 4,000 have fled to an area on the Naf River close to the border with Bangladesh. Tens of thousands of others are still internally displaced in areas of Buthidaung township under the control of the Arakan Army. All the IDPs – including vulnerable Rohingya children, women, and the elderly - are in desperate need of food, shelter, and medical care.

 

“Without immediate international intervention, thousands of Rohingya will soon face starvation,” said Tun Khin, President of Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK. “Bangladesh must open its border for the formal delivery of humanitarian aid into northern Rakhine State or face the prospect of thousands of Rohingya dying from starvation on its doorstep.”

 

The Burmese military imposes some of the most severe restrictions on UN and international agencies in the world. Yangon-based agencies have very limited access in Rakhine State due to the Burmese military’s blockade of waterways and roads and denial of travel authorisations. Local humanitarian organisations do not have the capacity to meet the scale of the need.

 

The reality is that most of northern Rakhine State is now under the control of the Arakan Army. The Arakan Army does not have the resources to assist hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people and has requested international support and cooperation. Now is the time for international mediators to negotiate the creation of a humanitarian corridor into areas under its control.

 

“UN Secretary General António Guterres must fly to Bangladesh immediately to negotiate a humanitarian aid corridor,” said Tun Khin. “Once again, we warned of the risks of further atrocities against us and once again the international community failed to act on those warnings.  The presence of international aid agencies on the ground will act as a deterrent. The very least António Guterres can now do is fly to Bangladesh and prevent more lives being lost.”

 

Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK is calling for the establishment of a humanitarian aid corridor as an emergency first step, to be followed by a longer-term aid programme in areas under the control of Arakan Army, assisting Rohingya, Rakhine and all communities in need of international assistance. With large parts of Burma liberated from Burmese military control, it is not acceptable for international humanitarian aid programmes to be solely run from Yangon, limited to areas where the Burmese military permits them to operate. UN and international aid agencies must become operational in areas not under Burmese military control, where local people want and need that support.

 

“We recognise that establishing a humanitarian aid corridor from Bangladesh requires a dramatic change in how donors have approached humanitarian aid in Burma, but the alternative is to stand by and let people die,” said Tun Khin.

 

For more information and background on the current crisis please see the joint statement issued on 21st May 2024: https://www.brouk.org.uk/rohingya-facing-existential-threat-in-arakan/

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