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16 Sep 2017 description
report Voice of America

The Bangladesh government plans to construct a large camp to house some 400,000 Rohingya Muslims who have poured in from neighboring Myanmar over the past three weeks, officials said.

Authorities said 14,000 shelters, each able to accommodate six families, will be built over the next 10 days on an eight square kilometer site near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

The government said the movement of the settlement's refugees would be restricted.

15 Sep 2017 description
report Voice of America

By Katie Arnold


Overwhelmed and underfunded, aid agencies in Bangladesh are at a breaking point. But nearly three weeks into Rakhine State’s bloody conflict and the humanitarian crisis shows no signs of relenting.

Around 400,000 Rohingya Muslims have now sought refuge in the country's southern state of Chitagong, with the UN’s top human rights official saying Myanmar is carrying out 'a textbook example of ethnic cleansing' against the Rohingya.

13 Sep 2017 description
report Voice of America

Joe Freeman and Muktadir Rashid

BANGKOK — When Dhaka Tribune journalist Adil Sakhawat took the 40-minute journey across the Naf River from Bangladesh to Myanmar on Thursday, he passed a long line of boats going in the other direction.

The large canoes were full of Rohingya Muslims fleeing a crackdown on insurgents inside Myanmar's northern Rakhine State. There were 10 to 15 people crammed in each one.

09 Sep 2017 description
report Voice of America

Rohingya insurgents in Myanmar have called for a monthlong cease-fire starting Sunday in order to allow humanitarian aid to reach those affected by the conflict.

Insurgents from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) attacked dozens of police posts and an army base late last month. Fighting led to the displacement of more than 300,000 people.

In a statement Saturday, the group encouraged aid groups to "resume their humanitarian assistance to all victims of the humanitarian crisis, irrespective of ethnic or religious background, during the cease-fire period."

01 Sep 2017 description
report Voice of America

WASHINGTON — International refugee agencies and relief workers in Bangladesh and Myanmar are concerned about worsening conditions for the thousands of people who have fled sectarian violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Vivian Tan, the Asia press director for the U.N. refugee agency, is in Bangladesh and told VOA’s Burmese service that there is a shortage of shelter for the more than 18,000 people who have fled over the border from Myanmar.

27 Aug 2017 description
report Voice of America

The death toll in ongoing clashes in Myanmar’s northwestern Rakhine State has climbed to at least 96, as thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been trying to cross into neighboring Bangladesh. The total includes at least 80 insurgents and 12 members of the security forces.

Fighting between the military and hundreds of Rohingya militants continued Saturday with the fiercest clashes near the major town of Maungdaw, according to locals and the government sources.

18 Aug 2017 description
report Voice of America

By Anjana Pasricha

NEW DELHI — Human rights groups are calling on India to take a lead in addressing the crisis faced by tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar after a senior minister said New Delhi plans to identify and deport those living in the country.

Calling them illegal immigrants and a security threat, junior Home Minister Kiren Rijiju said India will send back an estimated 40,000 refugees regardless of the fact that some 16,500 are registered with the United Nations.

04 Aug 2017 description
report Voice of America

YANGON, MYANMAR — Myanmar’s government has repeatedly appealed for calm in recent weeks as the death toll from an outbreak of swine flu, or H1N1 influenza, has risen to 14 since the first cases were reported last month.

Officials have pointed to the fact that the strain of the virus, which was part of a global pandemic in 2009 that originated in pigs, is now considered a normal seasonal flu, and infections – if not deaths – have occurred in the country as recently as last year.

10 Jul 2017 description
report Voice of America

Ron Corben

BANGKOK — The plight of displaced communities in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State and the impact of the displacement on children has led to calls, in a new film, to boost education as a vital step to end divisions between Buddhist and Muslim communities.

The documentary film, “Sittwe,” was released this month in Thailand after being banned by Myanmar censors at its original debut at a human rights film festival in Yangon.

Buddhists and Muslims affected by violence

25 May 2017 description
report Voice of America

Joe Freeman

NAYPYITAW — The second round of peace talks under Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, called "21st Century Panglong”, commenced in the capital Naypyitaw Wednesday amid a cloud of frustration over the lack of progress made since the first conference held under her leadership in August.

18 Apr 2017 description
report Voice of America

KUTAPALONG CAMP, BANGLADESH — A spate of disappearances among the children of displaced Rohingya in Bangladesh is raising fears the children have been abducted into the region’s human trafficking networks.

In the past seven months, about 70,000 Rohingya have fled a military onslaught in their home country of Myanmar, and there are concerns the newly arrived status of the latest refugees makes them particularly vulnerable to abduction and exploitation.

07 Apr 2017 description
report Voice of America

The director general of an international coalition of 61 Rohingya organizations said he was “disappointed” at Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi for saying ethnic cleansing was “too strong” a term to describe what was happening in the Muslim-majority Rakhine region.

Wakar Uddin also called on her to reinstate a pre-independence system that showed Rohingya’s citizenship.

07 Mar 2017 description
report Voice of America

YANGON, MYANMAR — At least 30 people died during fighting in Laukkai Monday between Myanmar army forces and armed fighters from ethnic groups.

Tension between the central government and ethnic militias in the northern region near China's Yunnan province erupted early Monday morning. Witnesses told VOA of hearing artillery and small arms fire in Laukkai, capital of the Kokang special region and an important trading town on the Salween River, which forms Myanmar's border with China.

03 Mar 2017 description
report Voice of America

By Paul Vrieze


Myanmar’s government is meeting with an alliance of ethnic rebel groups this week to try to revive a peace process that has stalled after months of increased fighting in the country’s north.

The violence has evaporated early optimism about Aung San Suu Kyi’s ability to control the army and promote peace. The instability near China’s southern border has prompted it to become directly involved in the peace process.

23 Feb 2017 description
report Voice of America

Maaz Hussain

Many Rohingya Muslims who fled alleged killings and other rights abuses during a Myanmar military crackdown in northern Rakhine state say they are not willing to return to their homes, despite last week's announcement that the military operation in the region has ended.

Quoting Myanmar's national security adviser, Thaung Tun, a statement from the office of State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi last week said the situation in northern Rakhine had been stabilized and the clearance operation by the military had been halted.

02 Jan 2017 description
report Voice of America

Maaz Hussain

Authorities in Dhaka have demanded that Myanmar repatriate tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who crossed the border to escape what they say is persecution, and are now living illegally in Bangladesh.

Myanmar says it will accept a small fraction of the refugee population now in Bangladesh, but the Rohingya themselves say they are unwilling to go back to Myanmar's Rakhine state. Refugee community leaders are appealing to "Rohingya-friendly" countries to take them in.

12 May 2016 description
report Voice of America

Paul Vrieze

LOIIKAW, KARENNI STATE— In a dusty, small workshop on a quiet street in Loikaw, three men are busy adjusting plastic frames and pieces of wood. They are creating simple prosthetic legs for the victims of a hidden but ever present danger here in Karenni State: landmines.

Like many ethnic areas in Myanmar, the poor, isolated southeastern state has been wrecked by decades of ethnic conflict and its rural areas have some of the highest levels of landmine contamination in the country.

17 Nov 2015 description
report Voice of America

Ron Corben

BANGKOK— Tens of thousands of Burmese refugees living in Thailand are more optimistic about returning following the November 8 election wins of the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Aung San Suu Kyi. However, many who fled decades of conflict in Myanmar remain cautious.

Myanmar has faced years of internal conflict as myriad ethnic armies waged war against the military-led government in a bid for autonomy, sending more than 120,000 refugees fleeing.

25 Sep 2015 description
report Voice of America

Ron Corben

BANGKOK— This year's monsoon floods in Myanmar, the most severe in a decade, affected an estimated 1.6 million people and killed more than 100. Almost 400,000 hectares of farmland, largely rice paddies, along with fish ponds and farm animals, were lost. A tropical cyclone followed the devastation wrought by monsoon storms, sweeping away homes, roads and bridges.

Peter Brimble, an Asian Development Bank specialist in Myanmar, said deforestation was a factor.

09 Sep 2015 description
report Voice of America

Robert Carmichael

PHNOM PENH— Cambodia has agreed to take more refugees from an Australian detention center on the island of Nauru, giving a boost to a $40 million resettlement deal that so far has been widely seen as an expensive failure for Australia. The pledge came after an unannounced visit to Phnom Penh by Australia’s immigration minister, Peter Dutton, during which he met Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

After Dutton’s meeting with Hun Sen, a Cambodian government spokesman told news media that the Southeast Asian nation is “ready to accept more refugees.”