US wants Myanmar to set conditions for return of Rohingya Muslims, says crisis can be used to foment hatred

Washington: The US wants Myanmar to set conditions for the return of Rohingya Muslims as it believes that this "humanitarian catastrophe" can be used by some as a way to foment hatred along religious lines and then violence, a senior Trump administration official has said.

Nearly 6,00,000 minority Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since late August to escape violence in Myanmar's Rakhine State where the army has launched a crackdown against militants.

Myanmar does not recognise Rohingya as an ethnic group and insists that they are Bangladeshi migrants living illegally in the country.

File image of Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar. Reuters

File image of Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar. Reuters

"It is a very significant humanitarian and security concern. Because there are those who will use this humanitarian catastrophe as a way to foment hatred along
religious lines and then violence," the senior administration official told PTI.

"So, it's important for Myanmar to do more, to set conditions for the return of refugees," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

As such it is important for the international communities do everything they can to alleviate the tremendous humanitarian suffering and to ensure that basic services, including education for children are met.

Meanwhile, the US government on Sunday announced to have provided nearly $40 million in life-saving emergency assistance in direct response to the Rakhine State crisis since 25 August.

This brings the total US humanitarian assistance in 2017 to the displaced in Myanmar and the region to nearly $104 million, the State Department said.

The US assistance goes to its international organisation partners on the ground, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

The organisations helps in providing protection, emergency shelter, food and nutritional assistance, as well as health care and psychosocial support for the more than half a million displaced refugees in Myanmar, Bangladesh and the region.

"We applaud Bangladesh's government generosity in responding to this severe humanitarian crisis and appreciate its continued efforts to ensure assistance reaches people in need," the department said.

Welcoming Myanmar's commitment in bringing long-term peace and stability to Rakhine State by implementing the recommendations of the Kofi Annan-led Special Advisory
Commission report, the department in a statement called for an immediate end of the violence in northern Rakhine State and for the Myanmar's government to allow refugees to return home voluntarily, safely and with dignity.

Updated Date: Oct 23, 2017 10:57 AM

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