| 06.02,19. 05:39 AM |
Jolie: 'Genuine commitment' to help Rohingya needed
After visiting Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, Angelina Jolie on Tuesday urged officials in neighboring Myanmar to show “genuine commitment” to end the cycle of violence and displacement and improve the conditions for all communities in Rakhine state, bordering Bangladesh.
“They have been denied their most basic human right: citizenship in their country of birth, and some still won’t even call the Rohingya by their rightful name,” the Oscar-winning actress and UN refugee special envoy Jolie told reporters amid her five-day visit to Bangladesh.
After visiting Kutupalong Rohingya camp in Southern Bangladesh, home to thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled persecution in Myanmar, Jolie urged that the recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Commission be carried out, according to a UNHCR statement.
She said it was deeply upsetting to meet families who have only known persecution and statelessness their whole lives, who speak of being “treated like cattle.”
“They have an absolute right to return home [to Myanmar], but only when they feel safe enough to do so voluntarily and they know that their rights will be respected.”
She added: “I met a woman yesterday, a survivor of rape in Myanmar and she told me, “You would have to shoot me where I stand before I go back without my rights’.
“The responsibility to ensure those rights and make it possible for the Rohingya people to return to Rakhine state lies squarely with the government and the authorities in Myanmar.”
“Until they can return, we have a collective responsibility to ensure that they can live dignified lives here in Bangladesh,” she said, stressing how tragic the situation is, as the world was warned by four decades of persecution and discrimination.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).
More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience."
Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.
The UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings – including of infants and young children – brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces.
In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.