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Myanmar

Outcry over Myanmar junta denying Covid jabs to Rohingya

Diaspora group says deliberately withholding essential health care to Rohingya confirms genocidal charges

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: August 13, 2021 10:05 AM GMT

Updated: August 13, 2021 10:13 AM GMT

Outcry over Myanmar junta denying Covid jabs to Rohingya

Members of the internally displaced Rohingya community at a camp in Rakhine state. (Photo: AFP)

A diaspora group based in London has decried the Myanmar junta’s plans to withhold Covid-19 vaccinations from hundreds of thousands of Rohingya inside crowded camps in Rakhine state.

“This is a continuation and escalation of the crimes against humanity, including genocide and ethnic cleansing, that have been carried out for decades against Rohingya people,” Tun Khin, president of the Burmese Rohingya Organization UK (BROUK), said in a statement on Aug. 12.

More than 120,000 Rohingya are confined in internal camps in Rakhine state, drawing comparisons with the apartheid era in South Africa. Local residents have reported cases of coronavirus in the camps where most Rohingya are confined behind barbed wire fences, according to the group.

An estimated half a million Rohingya are living elsewhere in Rakhine state where they also face oppression and discrimination.

“Deliberately withholding essential health care to a specific group confirms the genocidal charges already under investigation at the UN International Court of Justice,” Tun Khin added.

A local administrator was quoted by Reuters as saying that “authorities in Myanmar currently have no plan to include minority Rohingya Muslims living in densely packed camps as they begin vaccinating priority groups against Covid-19 in western Rakhine state.”

The military junta has been trying to carry out vaccinations following soaring cases in the third wave of Covid-19

More than 700,000 Rohingya were forced to flee their homes to Bangladesh following the Myanmar military’s bloody crackdown in August 2017 after decades of systematic discrimination, statelessness and targeted violence.

The military junta has been trying to carry out vaccinations following soaring cases in the third wave of Covid-19, which is worsening due to the virtual collapse of the country’s health system.

At least 6,000 people died in the month of July and the junta-controlled health ministry has admitted an average of 300 daily deaths.

However, medical workers and charitable groups said the actual fatalities could be higher with unknown thousands dying from the disease.

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