Violence Escalates in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, Forcing 45,000 Rohingya to Flee

The UN has warned of Mounting violence in Myanmar’s conflict-torn Rakhine State forcing an additional 45,000 Rohingya minority to flee the region, Al Jazeera reported yesterday.

The latest exodus comes amid harrowing allegations of beheadings, killings, and the burning of property, the news agency noted.

Clashes have intensified in Rakhine since the Arakan Army (AA) rebel group attacked forces of the ruling military government in November 2023, ending a fragile ceasefire.

The fighting has placed the persecuted Rohingya population, long considered outsiders by the Buddhist majority, in the crosshairs, suffering attacks from both government and rebel forces.

According to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the refugees have flooded an area along the Naf River bordering Bangladesh, seeking urgent protection. UN human rights chief Volker Turk has called on Bangladesh and other neighboring countries to provide effective safeguarding to the new arrivals in line with international law.

More than a million Rohingya have already fled Rakhine for Bangladesh since 2017, when a brutal military crackdown prompted a mass exodus. The latest influx exacerbates the strain on Bangladesh, which has been reluctant to accept additional refugees given the existing burden.

Testimonies collected by the UN describe horrific scenes, including dozens of dead bodies, burning of towns, and Rohingya being abused and extorted by the AA as they fled. The UN has also documented cases of Rohingya being used as “human shields” in the conflict.

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