U.N. human rights leader says crisis bears “hallmarks of genocide”
Feb. 1, 2018 (SEATTLE, Wash.) – The Associated Press this morning confirmed previously unreported mass graves in Myanmar where thousands of Rohingya Muslims are believed to have been killed in attacks on villages on Aug. 27, 2017. Since then, nearly 700,000 Rohingya have poured into neighboring Bangladesh seeking refuge in overcrowded camps.
The U.N. special envoy on human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, told the AP that the situation bears “the hallmarks of a genocide.”
World Concern President Jacinta Tegman just returned from a tour of Bangladesh’s refugee camps and is calling on donors and the humanitarian world to turn their attention to and take action to help survivors of this crisis who are living in tattered tents without food, clean water, or medical care.
“I have never seen such a level of suffering, nor heard such horrific stories of violence and loss as I did during my visits with Rohingya families,” said Tegman. “I feel so compelled as humanitarians to turn our attention to this underreported crisis, and ask – plead, on behalf of these families – for the world to take action to help. These survivors, mostly women and children, fled in absolute terror with nothing but the clothes on their backs. The Rohingya are among the most marginalized, persecuted people group in the world right now, and this is exactly who World Concern is called to help.”
Since August 2017, the number of people affected by the crisis has grown to more than 1 million, including more than 800,000 in the camps and those impacted in host communities.
“I met women and children who witnessed family members being shot, and their homes burning. The trauma they have experienced was palpable. There was a 10-year-old girl whose entire family was killed when the boat they fled in capsized. She survived by clinging to a dead body floating in the water. She is living in the camp alone, traumatized, and vulnerable,” said an emotional Tegman. “We cannot look away any longer. I cannot forget what I heard and saw there. I am asking donors, partners, agencies, and the world to respond with compassion and help these refugees survive.”
On Feb. 6, World Concern will launch a large scale campaign to raise awareness and funds for the Rohingya Refugee Crisis Response. World Concern and its Integral Alliance partners are providing emergency aid, including critical shelter materials, hygiene kits, and trauma recovery support.
For interviews with World Concern staff around the world, please contact Cathy Herholdt, Senior Communications Director, at (206) 794-9775 or [email protected].
World Concern is a Christian global relief and development organization. With our supporters, our faith compels us to extend lifesaving help and opportunity to people facing the most profound human challenges of extreme poverty. At World Concern, the solutions we offer, the work we do, creates lasting, sustainable change. Lasting change that provides lasting hope. Our areas of expertise include disaster response, clean water, education, food security, child protection, microfinance and health.