Islamabad has urged the world to put pressure on Myanmar, where renewed violence has forced out tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims.
Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif says the Rohingyas’ plight is “a challenge to the conscience” of the world and that Pakistan was committed to providing humanitarian aid to them.
The ministry issued a statement containing Asif’s opening remarks at a conference of Pakistani diplomats on Thursday.
Political parties and clerics have organised rallies across Pakistan to express their solidarity with Rohingyas and to condemn Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi for the reported massacres of Rohingya Muslims.
The government of Myanmar has counted 400 deaths and says most were terrorists.
The latest violence began on Aug 25 after insurgent attacks on police. The government forces retaliated with what they called “clearance operations”.
UN says 146,000 have now fled Myanmar violence
The United Nations says some 146,000 people have fled Myanmar into Bangladesh since August 25.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Wednesday that the World Food Programme is appealing for $11.3 million to support the influx of people and those already living in camps.
The UN agency has provided food to tens of thousands of people, with Dujarric describing women and children arriving there as “hungry and malnourished.”
Dujarric also said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “is continuing his diplomatic contacts regarding the situation in Myanmar.”
The Myanmar government’s top security adviser claims an insurgent group that attacked 30 police posts two weeks ago is trying to carve out a separate Muslim state from the Buddhist-majority nation, and the armed forces are using maximum restraint in their operations against them.
Myanmar’s National Security Adviser Thaung Tun said at a news conference on Wednesday in the capital, Naypyitaw, that security forces are making every effort to avoid harming innocent civilians. He was responding to accusations that the army and police fired indiscriminately on civilians and razed Muslim Rohingya villages after the attacks on the police posts in Rakhine state.
Myanmar must allow humanitarian groups to distribute aid in Rakhine: Norway
Norway’s foreign minister called on Myanmar’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and her government to allow humanitarian groups to distribute aid in violence-wracked Rakhine state, deeming limits on their work “extremely serious.”
Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende said on Wednesday that the Norwegian government is deeply concerned about escalating violence and the deteriorating humanitarian situation of the Rohingya. He said “all groups must show restraint,” but stressed that “authorities, under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi, have a particular responsibility to protect civilians from abuses, to stop the violence and to ensure humanitarian access.”
‘Turkey wants a lasting solution to the plight of the Rohingya’
According to officials, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s wife is heading to Bangladesh to oversee the distribution of aid to Muslim Rohingya refugees from Myanmar and to highlight the crisis.
Erdogan’s office said on Wednesday that Emine Erdogan will be accompanied by her son, Bilal Erdogan, the family and social affairs minister, and senior Turkish aid officials during her visit to Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is also scheduled to depart for Bangladesh and is expected to visit a refugee camp and oversee the delivery of aid. He said on Wednesday that Turkey wants a lasting solution to the plight of the Rohingya.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says his country wants a lasting solution for the plight of Rohingya Muslim refugees from Myanmar. Cavusoglu spoke on Wednesday in Baku, Azerbaijan, before travelling to Bangladesh where he’s expected to visit a refugee camp for Rohingya and oversee the delivery of humanitarian aid.
He says Turkey will also deliver ambulances to Bangladesh to help it cope with the refugee flows, Cavusoglu said. Cavusoglu said Turkey was determined not to “abandon” Rohingya and said his visit would help determine steps that can be taken to improve their conditions.
He says: “God willing, together with the international community, a lasting solution can be found.”
Bangladeshi PM asks officials to prepare a database with fingerprints for new arrivals
A Bangladeshi disaster management official says the country will set up a new camp to accommodate Rohingya Muslims who have arrived from Myanmar since August 25.
But Shah Kamal of the Ministry of Disaster Management did not say when the new camp would be ready. He said on Wednesday that the camp would be established in Tyingkhali, south of Cox’s Bazar district and near the established camp in Balukhali where more than 50,000 Rohingya have been sheltering since October.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked officials to prepare a database with fingerprints for the new arrivals.
Cox’s Bazar official Ali Hossain said the plans were still under discussion, and the government was coordinating with international agencies to handle the “very complicated” situation.
He said officials were visiting the area and, “if necessary, we will take 400 acres or more land for the new establishment. The Bangladesh government will take responsibility.”