BANGKOK – The Burma Human Rights Network criticized the Myanmar military on Tuesday for blocking humanitarian aid to Rohingya villages in the west of the country.
Many of the villages near Buthidaung municipality in Rakhine state have not received humanitarian assistance since the military crackdown on Aug. 25, the BHRN said in a statement.
Activists said authorities had also blocked access by the United Nations humanitarian agency to the north of Rakhine state, where the majority of the Rohingyas currently live.
According to the NGO, only local organizations and the International Committee of the Red Cross were given access to the area but were mostly directed to Buddhist villages in Rakhine state instead.
On Aug. 28, Rohingya militants carried out a coordinated attack on about 30 police posts, sparking a response from the military, which has then been accused of rapes, killing civilians and burning their homes.
Since then, more than 500,000 Rohingyas have fled to neighboring Bangladesh.
The human-rights organization also said that Bangladeshi authorities destroyed boats arriving from Myanmar with Rohingyas on board, saying that the refugees were transporting drugs into their country, and arrested fishermen for helping those fleeing the violence.
Without rescue boats, thousands of Rohingyas have been stranded by the mouth of the Naf River, which marks the border between the two countries.
The human-rights NGO called on Myanmar to allow the arrival of humanitarian aid to Rakhine state and on Bangladesh to facilitate the entry of refugees.
It is estimated that before the crisis about 1 million Rohingyas lived in Rakhine state, where they faced growing discrimination from the government, which considers them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh
The UN labeled the conflict in Myanmar as “ethnic cleansing.”