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Rohingya Facing Existential Threat in Arakan

Rohingya organisations call for urgent international humanitarian assistance.

  • Out of 600,000 Rohingya left in Arakan or Rakhine State after the genocidal attacks of 2016-2017, we estimate that only one third remain in their original homes.

  • Tens of thousands of Rohingya are internally displaced in Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships.

  • Rohingya in Buthidaung downtown were ordered to leave the town by 10 am on 18 May by the Arakan Army (AA). There was no fighting taking place in Buthidaung downtown. Late at night on 17 May, AA soldiers fired shots overhead to frighten people out of their homes, then looted and set fire to the houses. Thousands of Rohingya, including women, children and the elderly, were forced to flee for their lives. We condemn all the atrocities committed by the Arakan Army.

  • Displaced Rohingya have no food and shelter. The death toll will likely soon rise through starvation, lack of clean water and medical care. International humanitarian assistance is urgently needed.

Rohingya organisations today urge the international community to immediately put pressure on the United League of Arakan/Arakan Army to end mass forced displacement and human rights violations against Rohingya communities in Rakhine and to uphold international humanitarian law.

The international community must also robustly engage with the United League of Arakan/Arakan Army for the safe and unrestricted delivery of international humanitarian assistance to all communities, including the Rohingya, in the areas of Rakhine State under its control.

With the Burmese military restricting humanitarian aid deliveries from the areas of Burma which it occupies, we call on the government of Bangladesh to open up its borders for the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance into areas of northern Rakhine State 2 which have been freed from military rule. International donors, UN agencies and INGOs must engage with the government of Bangladesh and the United League of Arakan/Arakan Army to enable the opening of this humanitarian lifeline.

We call on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation in Myanmar, and the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar to immediately begin investigations into the current crisis, with a view to publicly reporting on what is taking place and collecting evidence for future prosecutions to hold those responsible for human rights violations to account.

We call on the government of the United Kingdom to urgently convene a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss this current crisis and to call on the Arakan Army to end the mass forced displacement and human rights violations against Rohingya.

We remain disappointed that during the recent UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Rakhine State, an opportunity to try to prevent the current crisis was missed. Security Council members failed to address the regime’s ongoing violations of the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice to protect the Rohingya. Likewise, they failed to call on the Arakan Army to abide by international law.

We propose a dialogue process including all ethnic and religious communities in Rakhine State, in order to work together for peaceful co-existence, effective administration and the economic development of Rakhine State as it is finally liberated from Burmese military rule.

Once again, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya are fleeing for their lives. Once again, the international community was warned about what could happen and failed to act. Now is not the time to hide behind claims that it is not clear what is going on or how complex the situation is. We have been here before. Now is the time for bold action.

Read the full statement here.

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