582,000 refugees to Bangladesh from Rakhine since August 25, UN says


GENEVA — Some 582,000 Rohingya refugees have fled their homes in Myanmar and arrived in Bangladesh since late August, the United Nations said Tuesday, warning that thousands more were stranded at the border.

The UN said 582,000 members of the Rohingya community had crossed into Bangladesh since August 25, marking a jump of 45,000 from the 537,000 figure given at the weekend.

Marixie Mercado, a spokeswoman for the UN children’s agency, told reporters in Geneva though that the hike was not likely due to a sudden influx, but rather to improved access to some areas where many refugees had previously gone uncounted.

The Rohingya are fleeing violence in Rakhine State, where the UN has accused troops of waging an ethnic cleansing campaign against them.

Support more independent journalism like this. Sign up to be a Frontier member.

The numbers have soared since August 25, when militant attacks on Myanmar’s security forces in Rakhine sparked a major military backlash.

UN refugee agency (UNHCR) spokesman Andrej Mahecic expressed deep concern over the “condition of thousands of new arrivals who are stranded near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.”

“Since Sunday night, an estimated 10,000-15,000 Rohingya refugees have entered Bangladesh through the Anjuman Para border crossing point in Ukhia district in the country’s south-east,” he told reporters.

He said many of them had chosen to remain in their homes in Rakhine State despite repeated threats to leave or be killed.

“They finally fled when their villages were set on fire,” he said.

He said UNHCR staff had spoken with people who described walking for around a week to reach the Bangladesh border.

Most are still squatting in paddy fields in Bangladesh, and were waiting for permission to move away from the border, he said.

“UNHCR is advocating with the Bangladesh authorities to urgently admit these refugees fleeing violence and increasingly-difficult conditions back home,” Mahecic said.

“Every minute counts, given the fragile conditions they’re arriving in,” he stressed.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
Myanmar enters 2021 with more friends than foes
The early delivery of vaccines is one of the many boons of the country’s geopolitics, but to really take advantage, Myanmar must bury the legacy of its isolationist past.
Will the Kayin BGF go quietly?
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.

Support our independent journalism and get exclusive behind-the-scenes content and analysis

Stay on top of Myanmar current affairs with our Daily Briefing and Media Monitor newsletters.

Sign up for our Frontier Fridays newsletter. It’s a free weekly round-up featuring the most important events shaping Myanmar