Updated: August 13, 2021 10:13 AM GMT
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.
….as we enter the last months of 2021, we are asking readers like you to help us keep UCA News free.
For the last 40 years, UCA News has remained the most trusted and independent Catholic news and information service from Asia. Every week, we publish nearly 100 news reports, feature stories, commentaries, podcasts and video broadcasts that are exclusive and in-depth, and developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes.
Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to – South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters who cover 23 countries in south, southeast, and east Asia. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don’t have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.