U.N. agencies convene Monday in Geneva to request a sum of $434 million to fund a massive emergency response to the Rohingya refugee crisis in eastern Bangladesh, where nearly 600,000 people have crossed the border after fleeing recent violence in Myanmar.
The crisis began in the days after an Aug. 25 attack on state security forces by Rohingya insurgents, which triggered a brutal military crackdown on civilians that has sent more than half of the total Rohingya population fleeing in what may be the fastest cross-border exodus in modern history.
The Myanmar military has been accused of a campaign of “ethnic cleansing.” Refugees arrived alleging gang rape, extrajudicial killings and the burning of hundreds of villages, which rights groups have documented in satellite imagery. The government of Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s de facto leader and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, denies the atrocities.
But eight weeks later, waves of desperate and dehydrated refugees continue pouring across the Bangladeshi border, seeking sanctuary in what is becoming the world’s largest displacement camp. The government of Bangladesh, itself an impoverished country that does not recognize the Rohingya as refugees, has allowed them entry but is struggling to cope with the world’s most rapidly developing humanitarian crisis.