The news below should not surprise anyone except fascist Buddhists of Myanmar.
In an embarrassment for the Myanmar Government, which is effectively led by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, the latest study released by the United Nation’s refugee agency says the number of people fleeing Myanmar is now almost half a million.
By the end of 2016, according to the UNHCR’s annual global trends study released on 20 June, refugees from Myanmar rose to 490,300, up from 451,800 the previous year. Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy came to power early in 2016 after 50 years of military rule. Myanmar is now the eighth largest refugee producing country in the world after Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.
Bangladesh hosts 276,200 Myanmar refugees while Thailand looks after 102,600, Malaysia 87,000, and India 15,600.
Muslim-majority Bangladesh initially offered a relatively safe haven to Muslim Rohingyas from Rakhine state, who faced ongoing conflict there with Buddhist ethnic Rakhines. In 2013, however, Bangladesh sealed off its border with Myanmar and refused entry to boatloads of fleeing Rohingyas.
After a deadly Rohingya militant attack against Myanmar border police on 9 October last year, some 75,000 Rohingyas still managed to cross the border to Bangladesh to escape the subsequent crackdown. Action by security forces left about 600 people dead, dozens of women were raped and Rohingya villages were razed. Around 30,000 people have reportedly since returned to their villages, with temporary shelter provided by the UNHCR.
Fr Thomas Htang Shan Mong, director of the Myanmar Catholic bishops' office for peace building and justice, blamed a range of political and economic factors for the rise in refugees. “There has been 70 nearly years of conflict and unrest in Myanmar, especially in ethnic areas,” Fr Mong told ucanews.com.
Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, said while there are many issues facing the minority Muslim group, “ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya is not taking place.
Cardinal Bo has been a strong advocate for better treatment of the Rohingyas, and in February called on the Myanmar Government “to allow unhindered access to all parts of Rakhine State,” as well as to allow “international humanitarian aid agencies, media and human rights monitors.” Cardinal Bo pointed out that all religious minorities, including Christians, face problems in the Buddhist-majority country.
Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario of Bangladesh, where Pope Francis may visit later this year, said on World Refugee Day last month that the new arrivals from Myanmar are “human beings who have a right to dwell in their own traditional way. They have a right to live where they have been living, but now they are refugees.”
The Myanmar military maintains control of 25 per cent of the seats in the national assembly, enough to block reform of a national charter that entrenches the armed forces within the corridors of power. Aung San Suu Kyi told the BBC earlier this year that the army was “not free to rape, pillage and torture” but was “free to go in and fight. And of course, that is in the constitution.” She said she aimed to amend the constitution.