Fearing for their lives, more than 370,000 Rohingya men, women and children have been forced to flee their homes in war-torn Myanmar for neighboring Bangladesh during just this month alone.
Christian relief worker David Eubank, whose work Faithwire has closely followed, revealed the staggering number in a letter Monday to supporters of his humanitarian organization, the Free Burma Rangers, which provides emergency medical care, shelter and food supplies to internally displaced people in Myanmar, a Southeast Asian country formerly known as Burma.
The Rohingya, a mostly Muslim ethnic group, are fleeing their villages in northwestern Myanmar to escape persecution, inter-communal violence and an ongoing conflict between insurgents and government forces.
“While many trace their ancestry back to Bangladesh, Rohingya people have been in Burma for many generations and have been part of Burma since before independence in 1948,” Eubank wrote in the letter. “Despite this, the Rohingya are not considered by the government to be one of the country’s 135 official ethnic groups, have been denied citizenship and full rights since 1982, and have faced discrimination and persecution from the Burma military and government.”
— Richard Weir (@rich_weir) September 19, 2017
Rohingya Muslims, dubbed by the United Nations as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced decades of discrimination, impoverishment and violence in the predominately Buddhist country. But tensions have worsened in the past year, especially since Aug. 25 when a Rohingya Muslim insurgent group known as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army launched a coordinated attack on Burmese authorities.
“In response to these attacks the Burma Army launched a ruthless attack against the Rohingya population that resulted in the current humanitarian crisis,” Eubank wrote.
Eubank, who has spent much of the past 20 years with his wife and three children in Myanmar’s jungles, said the Burmese army as well as anti-Rohingya mobs that are supported by the army have burned hundreds of Rohingya homes this month. More than 1,000 Rohingya have been reported to be murdered and those who have fled have shared reports of rape and torture, according to Eubank.
The Human Rights Watch has said the brutal allegations altogether “bear the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing.”
Eubank, a former U.S. Army Special Forces and Ranger office, said the Free Burma Rangers is trying to get humanitarian relief to the Rohingya displaced by the Burmese army.
“Thank you for your prayers and help for displaced Rohingya families,” he wrote in the letter to supporters. “God bless.”
Read the full letter and find out how you can help –> HERE.