February 15, 2018

Are the Rohingya on the brink of another crisis?

The UN says the March monsoon season poses a serious threat to thousands living in Bangladeshi refugee camps.

A top United Nations official is sounding the alarm about another potential crisis facing Myanmar's Rohingya refugees - the March monsoon season.

To date roughly 670,000 Rohingya have fled their homes in Myanmar, to Bangladesh, in an effort to escape violence. More than 1,500 refugees have fled this month alone and thousands more are expected. 

The mass exodus began back in August when the Myanmar military began attacking the Rohingya and torching their villages after a small Rohingya armed group attached an army checkpoint. The United Nations and human rights groups have said the campaign amounts to ethnic cleansing. 

The UN estimates 107,000 refugees are living in areas of Bangladesh prone to flooding or landslides.

"We are now in a race against time," says Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

"The [Bangladeshi] Government is steering a massive emergency preparedness effort, but international support must be stepped up to avert a catastrophe," he said in a statement to the U.N. Security Council.

Meanwhile, an explosive expose by Reuters about a massacre in a Rohingya village has landed two Reuters journalists in jail. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo investigated the killing of 10 Rohingya muslims in Northern Rakhine state who were reportedly were shot and hacked to death by a group that included their Buddhist neighbors and Myanmar soldiers. The journalists are charged with receiving government secrets and face up to 14 years in prison. They appeared in court Wednesday, just one day after receiving a major press award for their investigation.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

Matt Wells @mattfwells  
Senior crisis advisor, Amnesty International

Ro Nay San Lwin @nslwin
Activist/blogger, RohingyaBlogger

Kathryn Mahoney @MissMahoo 
Spokesperson, UNHCR

Tanvir Chowdhury @bappsbd

Mratt K Thu @mrattkthu  
Senior Reporter, Frontier Myanmar

Read more: 

UN: Rohingya still not allowed to return to Myanmar - Al Jazeera 
Rohingya repatriation: why the rush? - Al Jazeera 
Massacre in Myanmar - Reuters 

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