LONDON: Dozens of Rohingya women and children desperate to flee the violence in Myanmar are drowning while attempting to escape to Bangladesh by boat.
A Bangladeshi border guard, who asked not to be identified, told, guards had retrieved eight bodies on the Bangladeshi side of the Naf River on Wednesday alone, half of whom were children.
— DesmondTutu Official (@TheDesmondTutu) September 7, 2017
Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto ruler of Myanmar as state counselor, has repeatedly come under criticism for her lack of action to help the Rohingya, a stark contrast to her previous image as a champion of human rights.
Outrage grows in Bangladesh
As refugees continue to pour across the border, discontent is growing inside Bangladesh at the ongoing violence in their neighboring Rakhine State.
A protest in the capital Dhaka is planned for Friday, with thousands of people expected to attend.
The Bangladeshi government summoned the Myanmar ambassador to raise concerns about reports of landmines being laid on the border in the path of refugees.
There have been reports of Rohingya being crippled after stepping on the hidden mines while making their way to safety across the border.
In total, 414 people have now been killed since the violence began in Rakhine State in recent weeks, according to a statement from the Myanmar government.
“It’s possible the Myanmar military has planted the mines. There is no one else who could do it,” a senior Bangladeshi border guard told media.
Aung San Suu Kyi Dismisses Horrific Abuse Of Rohingyas As ‘Misinformation’
The plight of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims reached a grim benchmark this week, with the United Nations now estimating that more than 140,000 refugees have fled to neighboring Bangladesh in just 12 days to escape persecution.
Yet amid a crisis increasingly described as genocide, Myanmar’s state counselor and former Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, has dismissed the mounting reports of abuse as “misinformation.”
The Rohingya are a Muslim minority group from Rakhine state, where they have limited rights and are classified as illegal immigrants rather than citizens. They have long been victims of state-sponsored discrimination ― including what the U.N. has deemed possible crimes against humanity.
Rohingya militants attacked government security posts on Aug. 25, triggering renewed violence and a brutal retaliation by government forces that has prompted this latest exodus. In addition to those who have fled the country, tens of thousands of Rohingya are internally displaced.
Canada faults Myanmar government for failing to end violence
Canada is blaming Aung San Suu Kyi’s government and Myanmar’s military for failing to stop violence that has forced more than 120,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh in less than two weeks.
Parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Omar Alghabra said the Liberal government has asked Ms. Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and honorary Canadian citizen, to find a way to stop the violence and to work with international partners to achieve peace. The Rohingya Muslims live in Rakhine state and suffer from serious restrictions on their basic rights.
Ms. Suu Kyi blamed “terrorists” for a “huge iceberg of misinformation” for the conflict in Rakhine in a statement this week.
“I don’t think we heard the end of this yet about what our role is going to be. As I said, we are still assessing the situation and we’re looking for ways for Canada to be constructive. We are in discussion as well with our embassy over there, with our officials on the ground.”