Bangladesh urged to take refugees
16, June, BBC
The United Nations has urged Bangladesh to accept refugees fleeing
violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Burma.Tens of thousands of
refugees have fled Burma's province of Rakhine by boat.
About 30,000 are already in camps in Bangladesh.As many as 1,500 are
said to have been turned back in recent days.The UN's refugee agency in
Geneva, the UNHCR, says women and children have been left adrift on
boats in the river Naf without food or care.
"There are now a number of boats drifting in the mouth of the Naf
River with desperate people onboard in need of water, food and medical
care," the UNHCR said in a statement."It is vital that these people are
allowed access to a safe haven and shelter."The violence flared after
the murder of a Buddhist woman last month, followed by an attack on a
bus carrying Muslims which killed 10 people.Burmese officials have said
the fighting has killed 29 people and thousands of homes have been burnt
Most of the refugees travel to Bangladesh by boat through the river
Naf which marks the border with Burma.The majority of the mainly-Muslim
Rohingya refugees already in Bangladesh are staying in two camps in
Cox's Bazar district.Rakhine state is named after the ethnic Rakhine
Buddhist majority, but also has a sizeable Muslim population, including
The Rohingyas are a Muslim group and are stateless, as Burma
considers them to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.According to
reports, rioting began on Friday last week in the town of Maung Daw,
spreading to the state capital Sittwe and neighbouring villages.
Two days later, President Thein Sein declared a state of emergency
there.On Thursday Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi warned that
the strife would continue without "the rule of law".Speaking in Geneva
on her first trip to Europe since 1988, she said the situation should be
handled "with delicacy and sensitivity".