Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh: Some 270,000 mostly Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar’s violence-wracked Rakhine state and entered Bangladesh since August 25, the United Nations said Friday.
“An estimated 270,000 refugees arrived in Bangladesh in the last two weeks,” said UNHCR spokeswoman Vivian Tan.
More than 1,000 people may already have been killed in Myanmar, mostly minority Rohingya Muslims — more than twice the government’s total — a senior United Nations representative told AFP on Friday, urging Aung San Suu Kyi to speak out.
In the last two weeks alone 270,000 mostly Rohingya civilians have fled to Bangladesh, overwhelming refugee camps that were already bursting at the seams.
Others have died trying to flee the fighting in Rakhine state, where witnesses say entire villages have been burned.
On the basis of witness testimonies and the pattern of previous outbreaks of violence, said Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, “perhaps about a thousand or more are already dead”.
“This might be from both sides but it would be heavily concentrated on the Rohingya population.”
The Rohingya have long been subjected to discrimination in mostly Buddhist Myanmar, which denies them citizenship and regards them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, even if they have lived in the country for generations.
The figures given by Lee, a South Korean academic, are far higher than official tolls, which total 432.-AFP