Grim realities

As violence against the Rohingyas in Myanmar intensifies, neighbouring nations must engage or prepare for a humanitarian crisis, refugees warn

Hajee Ismail manages the Rohingya Peace Network in Thailand. (Photo courtesy of Hajee Ismail)

Hajee Ismail has hardly slept since receiving news late last month from his family in Buthidaung township that the Myanmar military had begun a brutal crackdown of Rohingya villages in Rakhine state. Ismail's community where he once played as a young boy had been burnt down.

Ismail, head of the Rohingya Peace Network in Thailand, is one of 5,000 Rohingya minorities residing in Thailand who are worried about the fate of their loved ones in Myanmar.

Buthidaung, Maungdaw and Rathedaung townships have experienced nightmarish repercussions after the Myanmar Army retaliated against attacks by Rohingya militants on police check points that killed a dozen local officers. While the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), the Rohingya insurgent group, have taken up arms, it's the disproportionate crackdown by the army that has attracted international criticism, confirming the status of the Rohingya by the United Nations as "the most persecuted minorities in the world". Since violence erupted on Aug 25, tens of thousands of Rohingyas have been uprooted and forced to flee their homes, many trying to cross the border into Bangladesh.

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