Rohingya Muslim refugee crisis provokes anger, denials
BANGKOK (AP) — Two weeks after violence erupted in western Myanmar, minority Rohingya Muslims continue to flood into neighboring Bangladesh every day.
The military said it was carrying out “clearance operations” in northern Rakhine state to flush out Rohingya insurgents who attacked police posts on Aug. 25, and blames insurgents for setting villages on fire. The fighters of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army say they launched the attacks on area police to defend persecuted Rohingya communities.
Many displaced Rohingya have said it was Myanmar soldiers who set their homes aflame and fired indiscriminately on villagers. Reporters saw new fires on Thursday in a village Rohingya had clearly abandoned.
Below are notable reactions to the crisis around the world:
MYANMAR LEADER AUNG SAN SUU KYI
“I think it’s a little unreasonable to expect us to resolve everything in 18 months. As you know that we have all been in the administration only 18 months,” Suu Kyi told reporters Thursday.
“We’re trying to progress as quickly as possible on the development front, because one of the biggest problems is the matter of very limited resources.”
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY SPOKESPERSON DUNIYA ASLAM KHAN
“Those who have made it to Bangladesh are in poor condition. Most have walked for days from their villages — hiding in jungles, crossing mountains and rivers with what they could salvage from their homes. They are hungry, weak and sick,” Khan said Wednesday at a briefing in Geneva.
MYANMAR NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR THAUNG TUN
“I am deeply disappointed and saddened by the disinformation campaign being waged around the world with regard to the situation in Rakhine. We see a deliberate attempt to spread fabricated news on the situation via both the print and broadcast news as well as online social media. These fabricated news items are written and published with the intent to mislead the public they are patently false and cannot be accepted,” Tun said at a news conference Wednesday in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyitaw.
U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTONIO GUTERRES
“The grievances and unresolved plight of the Rohingya have festered for far too long and are becoming an undeniable factor in regional destabilization,” Guterres said Tuesday at the United Nations in New York.
“The authorities in Myanmar must take determined action to put an end to this vicious cycle of violence and to provide security and assistance to all those in need.”
INDIAN PRIME MINISTER NARENDRA MODI
“We are partners in your concerns over the loss of lives of security forces and innocent people due to the extremist violence in Rakhine State,” Modi told reporters during a visit to Myanmar on Wednesday.
“Be it a large peace process or be it to resolve a specific problem, we hope that all the stakeholders can work together in the direction to find such a solution that will ensure peace, justice and dignity for all by respecting the unity and territorial integrity of Myanmar.”
PAKISTANI FOREIGN MINISER KHAWAJA MUHAMMAD ASIF
“Pakistan is deeply concerned over reports of growing number of deaths and forced displacement of Rohingya Muslims. Such reports, if confirmed, are a source of serious concern and anguish,” Asif said at a meeting of the country’s diplomats Tuesday.
“Pakistan urges authorities in Myanmar to investigate reports of massacre, hold those involved accountable and take necessary measures to protect the rights of Rohingya Muslims.”
BANGLADESH PRIME MINISTER SHEIKH HASINA
“Hosting a huge number of Myanmar nationals is a big burden for Bangladesh,” Hasina said Tuesday, according to her press secretary Ihsanul Karim.
“We’ve given shelter to them only on a humanitarian ground.”
PAKISTANI NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER MALALA YOUSAFZAI
“Every time I see the news, my heart breaks at the suffering of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar,” Yousafzai tweeted Tuesday.
“Over the last several years, I have repeatedly condemned this tragic and shameful treatment. I am still waiting for my fellow Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to do the same. The world is waiting and the Rohingya Muslims are waiting.”
“Sad news has reached us of the persecution of our Rohingya brothers and sisters, a religious minority,” the pope said Sunday while speaking to pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter’s Square.
“I would like to express my full closeness with them — and let all of us ask the Lord to save them, and to raise up men and women of goodwill to help them, who shall give them their full rights.”
INDONESIAN PRESIDENT JOKO WIDODO
“I and the entire people of Indonesia deplore the violence that occurred in Rakhine state, Myanmar. Real action is needed, not just statements and condemnations,” the president said Sunday.