Bangladesh, Myanmar to form 'working group' on refugee crisis

Fleeing for their lives

Fleeing for their lives

Mark Lowcock, UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, reiterated an appeal for access to the population in northern Rakhine, saying the situation was "unacceptable".

The crisis began when a Rohingya insurgent group launched attacks with rifles and machetes on a series of security posts in Myanmar on August 25, prompting the military to launch a brutal round of "clearance operations" in response.

Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, minister for disaster management and relief, said all the Rohingya would eventually be moved from 23 camps along the border and other makeshift camps around Cox's Bazar to the new zone.

"Because as long as that presence is there, it's a check to these kinds of atrocities", he said, referring to the plight of Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya minority. "Obviously there's into the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya still in Myanmar, and we want to be ready in case there is a further exodus", Lowcock told a news briefing in Geneva. The government, however, blames the Rohingya for the violence, claiming the Muslims set fire to their own homes.

The UN has said the Myanmar army campaign against Rohingya Muslims was a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing".

India had also called for implementation of the Kofi Annan Commission recommendations as a solution to the crisis.

The team had also urged government investment in Rakhine infrastructure such as roads, electricity, water and internet access.

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Myanmar has tightly controlled access to the state since then, as the army kickback in the Buddhist-dominated country sent half a million Rohingyas fleeing to Bangladesh.

The stress on Bangladesh has been increasing as the inflow of refugees continues even after nearly more than 40 days after the first instance of violence on 25 August.

Earlier this week, the United Nations warned of the vast pressure to accommodate refugees who have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, in an appeal for $430 million to provide aid for those displaced.

It conveyed as much to New Delhi, which in fact led to modifications in India's stance including pressure on Myanmar to rein in the security forces, and humanitarian aid to Bangladesh.

The attacks intensified after Rohingya militants killed 12 security officers during coordinated attacks on border posts, according to Myanmar's state media.

The violence, backed by radical Buddhist monks, has left scores of Rohingya villages torched and completely destroyed.

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