Rohingya Refugee Crisis Appeal
Rohingya people are a small ethnic minority group in Myanmar who have been described by the UN as one of the world’s most persecuted ethnic groups. They are denied their basic rights like being able to send their children to school, getting medical care, owning property or being able to travel freely within their country.
This discrimination and persecution has been going on for decades and must stop right now.
Shafika is one of 300,000 Rohingya refugees who made the journey into Bangladesh after 6 hours crossing the rough seas of the Bay of Bengal. She fled with her children after watching the military circle her village and throw what she believed to be a hand grenade before opening fire. She ran for her life into the forest and became separated from three of her five children. Her voice quivered as she described how she has not seen her 14-year-old daughter or 15 and 18-year-old sons for 10 days and has no idea where they are.
Without food for days, Shafika was prepared to die in the forest and wait for her lost children. She did not want to leave Myanmar but the situation was unbearable and she had to save her remaining two children. Shafika’s three children are still missing but she must continue her journey without them.
TRAPPED. NO WAY FORWARD. NO ROUTE BACK.
More than half a million Rohingya have fled from their homes in Myanmar into neighbouring Bangladesh. Thousands are trapped in shelters between borders, referred to as “No Man’s Land”. They’re not able to enter Bangladesh, and even if returning to their torched homes was a safe option, the path to the village is scattered with landmines to prevent any route back. Many have been killed or maimed by these landmines.
The journey to Bangladesh takes 10 days and can be very difficult for the young and the elderly. Seventy percent of refugees are women and children who carry their families’ belongings on their shoulders through rivers and rough terrain for hundreds of kilometres. Traumatised, they relive the horror of seeing dead bodies throughout the forest as they flee. Many of the dead are those too weak to survive the river crossing – most often the injured, elderly and sick.
Your support today will help fund essential equipment so that we can operate safely in a crisis zone like Myanmar.
Since the end of August 2017, the Rohingya population in northern Rakhine State has been subjected to systematic, organised and ruthless attacks. The Myanmar Army, often working with the Border Guard Police and local vigilantes, has killed hundreds of women, men and children, raped women and girls, and burned entire Rohingya villages to the ground. They have also laid inherently indiscriminate landmines near the border with Bangladesh, killing and injuring civilians.
Amnesty International has conducted more than 120 interviews with Rohingya men, women, and children on both sides of the border, investigating and documenting the attacks’. Aerial photographs and satellite imagery show highly targeted burning of villages and areas within villages. Certain areas can be seen to have been burned while other areas remain untouched. Witness accounts corroborate that it is overwhelmingly the Rohingya areas that have been burned, while non-Rohingya areas are left intact.
CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY
"Given their ongoing denials, Myanmar’s authorities may have thought they would literally get away with murder on a massive scale. But modern technology, coupled with rigorous human rights research, have tipped the scales against them."
Tirana Hassan, Crisis Response Director at Amnesty International
The Myanmar military’s atrocities followed attacks on security posts in late August by a Rohingya armed group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). The military’s response has been to systematically attack the population as a whole, a crime against humanity under international law. The head of the Office of the UN Commissioner for Human Rights has called it “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.
Your support will help us continue to pressure governments to protect the rights of the Rohingya people who are being persecuted and abused.