News / Asia

    UN: Bangladesh Should Shelter Burma's Rohingya

    Rohingya Muslims who fled Burma to Bangladesh sit in a boat after being intercepted  by Bangladeshi border authorities in Taknaf, Bangladesh, June 13, 2012.Rohingya Muslims who fled Burma to Bangladesh sit in a boat after being intercepted by Bangladeshi border authorities in Taknaf, Bangladesh, June 13, 2012.
    x
    Rohingya Muslims who fled Burma to Bangladesh sit in a boat after being intercepted  by Bangladeshi border authorities in Taknaf, Bangladesh, June 13, 2012.
    Rohingya Muslims who fled Burma to Bangladesh sit in a boat after being intercepted by Bangladeshi border authorities in Taknaf, Bangladesh, June 13, 2012.
    Lisa Schlein
    GENEVA - The United Nations refugee agency is appealing to Bangladesh to keep its borders open to Rohingya refugees fleeing ethnic strife in Burma.  The UNHCR says it has credible reports that Bangladeshi security forces are pushing back refugee boats when they arrive on their territory.

    United Nations refugee spokesman, Andrej Mahecic, says the UNHCR is deeply concerned that people fleeing violence in Burma’s Rakhine State are unable to seek asylum in neighboring Bangladesh.  He says the desperate situation of the minority-Rohingya Muslims is being made worse by their inability to find a safe, secure refuge.  
     
    “We have a situation where we have first-hand reports of the Bangladeshi security forces turning the arrivals by boat," Mahecic said. "There are now a number of boats adrift in the mouth of the Naf River.  We have been talking to the Bangladeshi authorities and we hope that Bangladesh will, in line with its long tradition of hospitality with the people from Myanmar [Burma], will allow access to a safe haven and to assistance for these people.”
     
    Mahecic says people on board these vessels are in desperate need of water, food and medical care.  Bangladeshi guards reportedly have turned back many boats carrying hundreds of people.  
     
    Bangladesh has stepped up security along its 200-kilometer border with Burma to prevent an influx of Rohingya refugees.  Bangladesh, for years, has borne the brunt of the forced displacement of these people caused by earlier crises in Burma.  

    Earlier this week, Bangladesh's foreign ministry said it is not in the country's best interest to allow more Rohingyas into the country.

    A total of 300,000 Rohingya live in Bangladesh.  About one-tenth are sheltered in two official camps in the country's southern district of Cox’s Bazaar.
     
    Deadly ethnic clashes between the Rohingya and Buddist Rakhine minority flared up in Burma’s Rakhine state one week ago.  An estimated 30 people have been killed in the violence.  
     
    Mahecic says a U.N. team traveled to the affected region this week to assess the situation.
     
    “The team saw smoldering villages. Based on what we saw, we consider that the displacement could be considerable. The government estimates that some 30,000 people have been displaced. There are efforts under way to calm the situation. The situation is tense still,” he said.  
     
    The U.N. spokesman says the refugee agency was forced to temporarily withdraw its staff from the area last week because of the dangerous situation. 

    Mahecic says he hopes it will be possible for the staff to return soon to monitor the situation on the ground and to provide essential needs to the displaced.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: John C. Kimbrough from: Brooklyn, New York
    June 16, 2012 2:30 PM
    Having lived, worked, studied and travelled in Asia for the last 24 years, I am sad to say that I found very little compassion, understanding and enlightenment among the people, races, ethnic groups and nationalities in and of the various countries there. If the various people are not fighting among themselves within their own societies, cultures and countries, they are fighting with people of other societies, cultures and countries.....There is way too much hatred against others. But there is no reason on the part of myself or anyone else to point a finger at Asia. This has been and is going on in Africa, South America, North America and Europe.....We are not wise as humans and not open to the suffering and hardships of others......We should be because we all have the gift of life to be thankful for and build on..............
    In Response

    by: Sagar
    June 16, 2012 11:00 PM
    Sophisticated, but would you please tell me, what is the main cause of such dispute? Ain't it the misunderstanding of religious theme? More people had died cause of religion or ethnic concept than any all other reasons ever. Man created such religion for their sake and in their hopeless period, now it should over and we should depend on us not to be thankful to any utopian power for a solution.

    by: Anonymous
    June 16, 2012 6:25 AM
    UN need to go Myanmar now and help all refugees... Where is human rights, Wher is USA.....

    by: Peter from: USA
    June 15, 2012 8:58 PM
    First thing after uncensoring is hatred against another? Democracy and freedom is a good thing but not good if turned to hatred. Rule of law must first apply before democracy can be truely implemented

    by: Moin Malik from: USA
    June 15, 2012 2:46 PM
    So the Prophetess of Peace, Madam Suu Kyi has nothing to say about Rohingyas. If nothing, like her countrymen, she could have expressed indifference or hatred for Rohingyas. No one is going to snatch her Nobel Prize,
    In Response

    by: MH from: USA
    June 18, 2012 5:27 PM
    Try to read a little more than write such comments. Do you think that whether to accept Rohingya can be decided by one person only? Do you think that rest of Burma going to accept Rohingya as ethnic? The problem here is not about Rohingya getting citizen or not - that depends on immigration laws (now there's no law in burma so not only rohingya but the rest of burmese ethnics are also having trouble) . Anyone as a migrant can become a citizen in a country and get the same rights as others. Rohingya problem is they try to get ethnic status when they are actually immigrants and not ethnic (burma has many chinese and indian citizens who do not claim themselves ethnic but just integrated into the society). If you are in USA you should know being legal immigrant is a path to citizen in future. So, why Rohingya trying to push for ethnic status ? - it create suspicions from Rakhine and Burmese alike that they are pushing for ethnic status because later they will ask for land/seperation using terrorist techniques. They have done before - look up on internet - they killed over ten thousand ethnic Rakhines and buddhist monks in the past. That's how they get themselves into this stage of being hated by others in the country. Please don't get blinded by the photos/media which do not provide whole history of this affair. For the long term future of burma, this issue must be treated carefully but enacting proper immigration/civil rights law. Rohigya should drop ethnicity claim and join the rest by pushing for law reforms, and also stop breeding mouths they cannot feed.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    June 16, 2012 6:32 AM
    She is greedy for Nobel prize... she has no feelings about her country peoples...those are loss their's house and out of the country ... When her country peoples are burning that time gone to Europe ... This all are packed game ...

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.