Doors continue to close for Myanmar’s Rohingya

Bangladesh (MNN) — Myanmar’s Rohingya ethnic Muslim minority are running out of options.

During the past seven weeks, over half a million Rohingya have fled Rakhine State in Buddhist-majority Myanmar from what the U.N. has called a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” Myanmar’s government refuses to recognize them as one of the country’s official ethnic groups, while security forces and Buddhist vigilantes have raped and killed villagers and burned entire villages.

(Photo courtesy of Asian Access)

Bangladesh estimates that 800,000 refugees now live in camps in its border town of Cox’s Bazaar, the coastal city where refugees arrive by boat. The camps are overcrowded and unsanitary, while food, water, and shelter are scarce.

“We don’t know how long the Bangladesh government will take care of that, but by seeing the situation, the way they live is inhuman,” Peter Mazumder, Asian Access’ national co-director in Bangladesh, says. Mazumder recently visited the camps to witness the suffering firsthand.

The Bangladeshi government has provided refugees with temporary ID cards, which allows them access to food rations. However, they are not formally recognized as refugees, meaning they don’t have access to education or the ability to move freely around the country.

Mazumder, who also works with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, is helping make sure they aren’t forgotten. He says they raised money at a recent student conference to help meet refugees’ physical needs.

“Praise God that we got permission from the government,” Mazumder says. “Our local church and the students will be going next week to distribute this food.”

Mazumder says there are also 200,000 children in the camps in need of medical assistance. Thankfully, there is a Christian hospital nearby providing assistance.

Photo courtesy of Jordi Bernabeu Farrús via Flickr:

“We are praying that we may raise a little more money, especially to respond [to] the children, to take care of their medical needs,” Mazumder says. “We are thankful to God that the Bangladesh government is very positive to help in this crisis.”

The Rohingya have been facing persecution for decades, and their situation isn’t getting any easier. Mazumder asks that you pray that the situation would be resolved soon and that Myanmar’s government would choose to help them.

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