Tuesday 17 October 2017

15 powerful photographs that show the current plight of Rohingya Muslim refugees

Warning: Images contains scenes of grief, injury and death

A Rohingya refugee child cries as he sits on the ground in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, September 29, 2017. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton
A Rohingya refugee child cries as he sits on the ground in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, September 29, 2017. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton
Rohingya refugees carry the remains of a man who, according to family members, succumbed to injuries inflicted by the Myanmar Army before their arrival in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, September 29, 2017. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton
Rohingya refugees carry a man who, according to them, was beaten by the Myanmar Army before there arrival in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, September 29, 2017. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton
A Rohingya refugee stands beside the remains of his father, whose family says he succumbed to injuries inflicted by the Myanmar Army before their arrival, in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, September 29, 2017. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton
Rohingya refugees react as they see the remains of a family member, whose family says he succumbed to injuries inflicted by the Myanmar Army before their arrival, in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, September 29, 2017. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton
Rohingya refugees react before the funeral of a family member, whose family says he succumbed to injuries inflicted by the Myanmar Army before their arrival, in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, September 29, 2017. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton
Rohingya refugees react before the funeral of a family member, whose family says he succumbed to injuries inflicted by the Myanmar Army before their arrival, in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, September 29, 2017. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton
Bodies of Rohingya refugees are transported after their boat with passengers fleeing from Myanmar capsized off the Inani beach near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh September 28, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
Bodies of children and other Rohingya refugees are covered after their boat with passengers fleeing from Myanmar capsized off the Inani beach near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh September 28, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
Bodies of children and other Rohingya refugees are transported after their boat with passengers fleeing from Myanmar capsized off the Inani beach near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh September 28, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
Bodies of Rohingya refugee children are transported after their boat with passengers fleeing from Myanmar capsized off the Inani beach near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh September 28, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
Bangladesh army men stand guard as Rohingya Muslim men, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, wait to receive aid during a distribution near Balukhali refugee camp, Bangladesh, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
Rohingya Muslims, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, walks through muddy field after collecting aid from a distribution centre near Balukhali refugee camp, Bangladesh, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
A Rohingya Muslim boy, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, holds his brother outside his shelter as it rains in Balukhali refugee camp, Bangladesh, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
Bodies of children and other Rohingya refugees are covered after their boat with passengers fleeing from Myanmar capsized off the Inani beach near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh September 28, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Tommy Wilkes and Michelle Nichols

Young boys grieving for their dead fathers, men awaiting to receive aid for their families, Rohingya Muslims arriving to a Bangladesh refugee camp after their escape from Myanmar and women crying at the funeral of a family member killed by the Myanmar Army - these 15 photos show the reality of the Rohingya Muslims' plight at the moment.

The photographs, taken by news agencies in the region, document Rohingya refugees' journey amid allegations that they are the victims of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

Rohingya refugees carry the remains of a man who, according to family members, succumbed to injuries inflicted by the Myanmar Army before their arrival in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, September 29, 2017. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton
Rohingya refugees carry the remains of a man who, according to family members, succumbed to injuries inflicted by the Myanmar Army before their arrival in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, September 29, 2017. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

Buddhist-majority Myanmar rejects accusations of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and has denounced rights abuses.

Its military launched a sweeping offensive in response to coordinated attacks on the security forces by Rohingya insurgents in the north of Rakhine State on Aug. 25.

Now, the United States have called for punishment of Myanmar's military, after more than 50 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar were declared missing after their boat capsized, with 20 confirmed dead.

The refugees drowned in heavy seas off Bangladesh late on Thursday while, in New York, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called on countries to suspend providing weapons to Myanmar over violence against Rohingya Muslims.

A Rohingya refugee stands beside the remains of his father, whose family says he succumbed to injuries inflicted by the Myanmar Army before their arrival, in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, September 29, 2017. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton
A Rohingya refugee stands beside the remains of his father, whose family says he succumbed to injuries inflicted by the Myanmar Army before their arrival, in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, September 29, 2017. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

But she stopped short of threatening to reimpose U.S. sanctions which were suspended under the Obama administration.

Escape

Rohingya refugees react as they see the remains of a family member, whose family says he succumbed to injuries inflicted by the Myanmar Army before their arrival, in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, September 29, 2017. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton
Rohingya refugees react as they see the remains of a family member, whose family says he succumbed to injuries inflicted by the Myanmar Army before their arrival, in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, September 29, 2017. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

A new surge in the numbers fleeing a Myanmar military campaign has taken the total to more than half a million.

Refugees arriving in Myanmar have told of attacks and arson by the military and Buddhist vigilantes aimed at driving Rohingya out.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council the violence had spiralled into the "world's fastest developing refugee emergency, a humanitarian and human rights nightmare".

Bangladeshi border officials said more refugees had arrived over the past day or two after the number seemed to be tailing off. Aid groups said 502,000 refugees had arrived in Bangladesh since late August.

A Rohingya Muslim boy, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, holds his brother outside his shelter as it rains in Balukhali refugee camp, Bangladesh, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
A Rohingya Muslim boy, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, holds his brother outside his shelter as it rains in Balukhali refugee camp, Bangladesh, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

"It stopped for a while but they have started coming again," Colonel Anisul Haque, head of the Bangladeshi border guards in the town of Teknaf, told Reuters, adding that about 1,000 people had landed at the main arrival point on the coast on Thursday.

The refugee boat that capsized went over in driving wind and rain and high seas. Police said 20 bodies had been recovered, 12 of them children, while 27 people survived and more than 50 were missing.

Bodies of children and other Rohingya refugees are covered after their boat with passengers fleeing from Myanmar capsized off the Inani beach near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh September 28, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
Bodies of children and other Rohingya refugees are covered after their boat with passengers fleeing from Myanmar capsized off the Inani beach near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh September 28, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Survivor, Abdul Kalam, 55, said at least 100 people had been on board. His wife, two daughters and a grandson were among the dead, he said.

Kalam said armed Buddhists had come to his village about a week ago and taken away livestock and food. He said villagers had been summoned to a military office and told there were no such people as Rohingya in Myanmar.

After that he decided to leave and headed to the coast with his family, avoiding military camps on the way.

In a sharp ramping up of the pressure on Myanmar, also known as Burma, Haley echoed U.N. accusations that the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people in Rakhine State was ethnic cleansing.

"We cannot be afraid to call the actions of the Burmese authorities what they appear to be - a brutal, sustained campaign to cleanse the country of an ethnic minority," Haley told the U.N. Security Council.

The United States had earlier said the army response to the insurgent attacks was "disproportionate" and the crisis raised questions about Myanmar's transition to democracy, under the leadership of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, after decades of military rule.

Suu Kyi has no power over the generals under a military-drafted constitution that bars her from the presidency. She has nevertheless drawn scathing criticism from around the world for failing to speak out more strongly and stop the violence.

The military campaign against the Rohingya insurgents is well supported inside Myanmar, where Buddhist nationalism has surged over the past few years.

Haley said the military must respect human rights and fundamental freedoms.

"Those who have been accused of committing abuses should be removed from command responsibilities immediately and prosecuted for wrongdoing," she said.

"And any country that is currently providing weapons to the Burmese military should suspend these activities until sufficient accountability measures are in place," Haley said.

Myanmar national security adviser Thaung Tun said at the United Nations there was no ethnic cleansing or genocide in Myanmar.

He told the Security Council that Myanmar had invited Guterres to visit. A U.N. official said the secretary-general would consider visiting under the right conditions.

China and Russia both expressed support for the Myanmar government. Myanmar said this month it was negotiating with China and Russia, which have veto powers in the Security Council, to protect it from any possible action by the council.

Reuters

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