At 5 a.m., a group of 50 Rohingya appear on the shores of Bangladesh, like ghostly figures.
Fleeing brutal oppression in Myanmar, they come in search of safety and shelter on Bangladesh’s shore. It’s a heartbreaking scene.
The Rohingya have been traveling by boat from Myanmar since 2 a.m. and they have just arrived. They are barefoot, starving and shell-shocked. Fear and exhaustion are etched on their faces and they carry their belongings in just a few plastic bags. The bags are all they have left.
Through a translator, an older man told ABC News that the military, some monks and some local Rakhine state people had burned their homes down and taken their animals.
“We have no freedom of movement. They would tell us we could move for a few hours but they would grab us once we left our homes and torture us. That is why we fled,” he said. “We have no rights. … We don’t have anything. … We cannot feed our children. We cannot eat.”
The Rohingya are a Muslim minority and considered one of the most persecuted groups in the world. The United Nations says they are victims of “textbook ethnic cleansing” perpetrated by the Buddhist Myanmar military.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also said in a recent statement: “After a careful and thorough analysis of available facts, it is clear that the situation in northern Rakhine state constitutes ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya.”
Recently the head of the Myanmar military seemed to dispute their very existence.
“I would like to make sure the world knows there are no Rohingya in Myanmar,” Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing said. “The people living in the Rakhine state are Bengali.”
And even Pope Francis, during his recent visit to Myanmar, refrained from saying the name “Rohingya” out loud during a speech.
“Religious differences need not be a source of division and distrust,” the pontiff said.
Since Aug. 25, the United Nations says, 625,000 Rohingya refugees have fled from northern Rakhine state in Myanmar.
A humanitarian crisis
The government of Myanmar has said that its latest crackdown was in response to attacks by the Rohingya militant…