Starvation caused by military and government restrictions on aid, movement, as well as new human rights violations and security concerns, are triggering a new wave of Rohingya people fleeing to Bangladesh. Without immediate action to lift these restrictions, tens of thousands of Rohingya will leave their villages and homes in the coming days and possibly hundreds of thousands in the coming weeks.
Thousands of Rohingya have already been arriving in Bangladesh because of lack of food in their home villages, as the government and military use starvation as another way of enforcing their ethnic cleansing campaign. Based on interviews we have conducted with refugees arriving in Bangladesh today, and with Rohingya still in Burma, the food crisis has now reached a tipping point where it has become impossible for people to stay.
In addition, military attacks and burning of villages has not ceased since UN Security Council called for an end to the violence against Rohingya. Nor has aid been restored.
The quarter of a million Rohingya now left in Burma are being subject to a range of different human rights violations depending on where they live. Forced labour is being used, and there are fears of this increasing as crops become ready for harvest but many Rohingya farmers have fled. Extortion is also being used with Rohingya in some places being forced by the military to buy livestock taken from Rohingya who have fled at triple the market value. Harassment and extortion through threat of arrest is also increasing. In one village called Oolaphay many houses were destroyed near police posts. Rakhine mobs accompanied by the military burned homes in Maungdaw Town three days ago.
Yesterday at 8pm Kyauklaykha market in Maungdaw was burnt down by soldiers and security forces. Also at about yesterday midnight Kakyaba Market in Buthidaung, where shop owners were Rohingya, was burnt down.
“Rohingya are now being starved out of Burma and unless real pressure is put on the government and military to lift aid and movement restrictions most of the Rohingya left in Burma will be forced out within weeks,” said Tun Khin, President of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK. “The military and government have ignored the United Nations Security Council. Starvation is the new tool to commit Genocide of Rohingya.”