News ID: 8990
Publish Date: 16 August 2012 - 09:55
Thousands of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims are living in dire conditions in refugee camps after government forces and Buddhist extremists burned down their villages.
A Muslim man at a refugee camp in Rakhine province said that most of the refugees’ children are suffering from malnutrition and that almost 100 people have died due to the spread of different diseases.

The refugees said that the Myanmar government and the local Rakhine Buddhists have colluded in burning their villages and forcibly removing them from their homes. As many as 20,000 Rohingyas live in the camp, where food supplies have been provided by the United Nations World Food Program.

The Myanmar government has allowed international monitors into the camp, but there are many other refugees further north of the country that are being shielded from view by the military. Another man at the camp said that Rakhine Buddhists along with local police tried to burn down the mosque where he was praying.

Among reports of continuing violence further north and reports of mass graves, these people are perhaps the lucky ones. But with no homes and with the government actively seeking their expulsion from the country, their future is becoming increasingly precarious.

Myanmar refuses to recognize Rohingyas as Myanmarese citizens and classifies them as illegal migrants, although the Rohingyas have resided in the country for centuries.

Myanmar President Thein Sein said on July 19 that the "only solution” to the plight of the Rohingya Muslims is to send the nearly-one-million-strong community to refugee camps run by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
"We will send them away if any third country would accept them,” he added. "This is what we are thinking is the solution to the issue.” However, the UN refugee agency has rejected the idea of setting up refugee camps to accommodate the Rohingyas.
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