Myanmar 31 Mar 2014 10:36
DESCRIPTION UPDATED ON MARCH 2015
Almost two years after a wave of sectarian violence against the Muslim community broke out in Rakhine state in Western Burma, about 70,000 displaced people from the Rohingya ethnic group are caged in appallingly precarious shelters in the camps for internally displaced people (IDP) in the capital Sittwe, and could face potential disaster as rainy season approaches. The Rohingya population has to withstand the poor conditions during their stay at the camps - including the lack of food, medical assistance and the abysmal hygiene conditions - that are likely to worsen markedly during the rains at the low-lying areas next to the sea near Sittwe.
Human Rights Watch had already accused the government, which considers Rohingyas as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and does not recognize them as Burmese citizens, of carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Muslim minority group. This follows Burma's refusal to allow people to class themselves as Rohingya in the first national census in three decades and officials' insistence that members of the ethnic group call themselves Bengali if they want to be registered. Meanwhile, international aid agencies working in Rakhine were attacked last week in what is the latest in a long series of sporadic assaults that erupted into full-scale violence in Rakhine scale back in 2012, causing thousands of Rohingyas to flee their homes. The UN has described the Rohingya as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.