While Canada’s special envoy has urged Myanmar to allow the safe return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees, Myanmar has approved about $15 million to build a fence and other projects on the border through which they fled. About 700,000 Rohingya fled murder, rape and unspeakable violence to Bangladesh where UNICEF is warning the coming cyclone season is likely to cause floods engulfing “the fragile and insanitary camps.”
Rohingya villages have been flattened
Meanwhile, Associated Press released aerial photos showing dozens of empty villages and hamlets in Rakhine state that have been bulldozed by Myanmar authorities. The villages were set ablaze after security forces drove multitudes of ethnic Rohingya into exile. The Rohingya are seen as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh even though they have been in Myanmar for generations. They are so reviled that their name is not spoken even among the highest officials.
The United Nations has described military actions against the Rohingya as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
View from above is called ‘deeply chilling’
Canada named former political leader Bob Rae as a special envoy and sent him to the area to investigate the humanitarian crisis. He met with leader Aung San Suu Kyi and found her resisting calls for an international investigation.
The Globe and Mail reported that after flying over Rakhine state in a helicopter, Rae said seeing “many, many burnt-out villages and destroyed villages and villages in which there’s no sign of human activity whatsoever is—to put it mildly—sobering and …deeply chilling.”
Rae is expected to deliver a final report to Canada’s Parliament in the coming weeks.