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Rohingya refugees emotionally drained due to violence: UN

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Rohingya refugees push each other as they line up to receive food supplies at a refugee settlement near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, November 21, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

Rohingya Muslim refugees suffer traumas that have been unheard-of for years; the violence against the persecuted community has drained them of emotion, says the UN high commissioner for refugees.

Describing his visit to Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh in late September, Filippo Grandi said on Wednesday that he found a population "that had almost no more response, very passive."

"You almost felt there was no emotion left and everything had been drained by this violence," the UN official said. “This is such a symptom of trauma in my opinion.”

The Italian commissioner further said "this type of trauma" had not been "seen for a long, long time."

“Perhaps I've seen things like this in the 90s in central Africa," Grandi said.

More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have so far fled the predominantly-Buddhist Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh since August 25, when a crackdown on the Muslims intensified in the state of Rakhine. During the past three months, the government troops have been raping, killing, making arbitrary arrests, and committing mass arson of houses in hundreds of predominantly-Rohingya villages in the state.

An eight-year-old Rohingya Muslim refugee waits to get treated at a Red Cross field hospital in a refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, November 22, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

Grandi said the success of humanitarian efforts would depend on the will of Myanmar's authorities to defuse the hostility against humanitarian workers in Rakhine.

The government has blocked aid agencies from delivering humanitarian aid to desperate civilians at the violence-hit region.

The UN has already described the Rohingya as the most persecuted community in the world, calling the situation in Rakhine similar to “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

Estimates as to how many Muslims have been killed vary from 1,000 to 3,000. At the root of the crisis is the refusal by Myanmar to grant citizenship to the Muslim minority community.


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