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Iran Press TV

Bangladesh offers land to shelter Rohingya Muslim refugees fleeing Myanmar

Iran Press TV

Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:19PM

Bangladesh has agreed to free land for a new camp to shelter some of the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled an escalation of violence in Myanmar.

Mohammed Shahriar Alam, a junior minister for foreign affairs, said in a Facebook post on Monday that Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had offered 2,000 acres (810 hectares) near the existing camp of Kutupalong "to build temporary shelters for the Rohingya newcomers."

The Dhaka government would begin fingerprinting and registering the new arrivals on Monday, the minister added.

The Bangladeshi premier is scheduled to visit Rohingya refugees on Tuesday.

According to the United Nations, the new camp will help relieve some pressure on existing settlements in the Bangladeshi border district of Cox's Bazar.

"The two refugee camps we are in are beyond overcrowded," said UN refugee agency spokeswoman Vivian Tan, adding, "Tomorrow we are expecting an airlift of relief supplies for 20,000 people."

This comes as other new arrivals were being sheltered in schools, or were huddling in makeshift settlements with no toilets along roadsides and in open fields. Basic resources were scarce, including clean water food and medical aid.

Reporters say they have witnessed hundreds streaming through the border at Shah Puri Dwip on Monday.

Aid agencies have been overwhelmed by the influx of Rohingya Muslim refugees, many of whom are arriving hungry and traumatized after walking days through jungles or packing into rickety wooden boats in search of safety in Bangladesh.

The government hospital in Cox's Bazar has been overwhelmed by Rohingya patients, with 80 arriving in the last two weeks suffering gunshot wounds as well as bad infections. At least three have been wounded in land mine blasts, and dozens have drowned when boats capsized during sea crossings.

Refugees say Myanmar soldiers are firing indiscriminately at their villages, burning their homes and warning them to leave or to die.

'Myanmar authorities must be prosecuted'

Meanwhile, Bangladesh's national rights commission demanded that atrocities by Myanmar authorities against Rohingya be prosecuted.

"This genocide needs to be tried at international court," National Human Rights Commission Chairman Kazi Reazul Haque told a news briefing in Cox's Bazar, adding, "The killing, arson, torture and rape ... by the Myanmar's military and border guards is unprecedented."

Elsewhere in his remarks, Haque stressed that stronger action was needed from the international community, including the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

313,000 Rohingya Muslims flee to Bangladesh: UN

Joseph Tripura, a spokesman for the UN refugee agency, said Monday that the number of Rohingya Muslims who have fled violence in Rakhine to Bangladesh since August 25 has reached 313,000,

On Sunday the UN said some 294,000 Rohingya had arrived.

"Many new arrivals are still on the move and residing on the roadsides, and are left out of the calculations due to the lack of comprehensive tracking mechanism," said a UN coordination report Monday.

Myanmar's forces have been attacking Rohingya Muslims and torching their villages in Rakhine state since October 2016. The attacks have seen a sharp rise since August 25, following a number of armed attacks on police and military posts in the troubled western state.

The latest eruption of violence in Rakhine has killed more than 1,000 people, according to the UN.

The world body has described the Rohingya as the most persecuted community in the world.

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