Fri, Sep 15, 2017 - Page 1 News List

UN asks for massive aid for Rohingya exodus

MIXED MESSAGES:China joined the Security Council’s condemnation of the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Rohingya, but its envoy to Myanmar backed the offensive against ‘terrorists’

Reuters, DHAKA and YANGON, Myanmar

A man yesterday shakes a Rohingya Muslim boy while trying to revive him after the boat he was traveling in capsized just before reaching shore at Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh. The boy survived.

Photo: AP

The UN yesterday appealed for massive help for nearly 400,000 Muslims from Myanmar who have fled to Bangladesh, with concern growing that the number could keep rising, unless Myanmar ends what critics denounce as “ethnic cleansing.”

The Rohingya are fleeing from a government military offensive in Rakhine state that was triggered by a series of guerrilla attacks on security posts and an army camp on Aug. 25.

The UN has called for a massive intensification of relief operations to help the refugees, and a much bigger response from the international community.

“We urge the international community to step up humanitarian support and come up with help,” Mohammed Abdiker, director of operations and emergencies for the International Organisation for Migration, told a news conference in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council on Wednesday urged Myanmar to end the violence, which he said was best described as ethnic cleansing.

The government of Myanmar rejects such accusations, saying it is targeting “terrorists.”

Many Rohingya villages in the north of Rakhine have been torched, but authorities have denied that security forces or Buddhist civilians set the fires. They blame the insurgents, and say 30,000 non-Muslim villagers were also displaced.

China endorses the offensive against the insurgents and deemed it an “internal affair,” state media in Myanmar said yesterday.

“The counterattacks of Myanmar security forces against extremist terrorists and the government’s undertakings to provide assistance to the people are strongly welcomed,” theGlobal New Light of Myanma newspaper quoted Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar Hong Liang (洪亮) as telling government officials.

However, at the UN in New York, China set a different tone, joining a UN Security Council expression of concern about reports of violence and urging steps to end it.

The Security Council met on Wednesday to discuss the crisis and later “expressed concern about reports of excessive violence ... and called for immediate steps to end the violence in Rakhine, de-escalate the situation, re-establish law and order.”

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