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Scottish Catholics urged to back Rohingya appeal

SCIAF have launched an appeal to help aid the Rohingya people who have been left homeless, hungry and in desperate need following the ongoing violence in Myanmar (Burma) which has claimed the lives of thousands.

by Ryan McDougall

The charity is sending £50,000 to its sister agency, Caritas Bangladesh, who are already aiding over 160,000 Rohingya people who have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh.


The speed and magnitude of people crossing the border has resulted in a humanitarian crisis, with many families fleeing with little to no possessions and now rely entirely on humanitarian and philanthropic assistance.


SCIAF Director Alistair Dutton said: ‘The Rohingya people are going through hell and desperately need our help. More than 480,000 people – roughly the population of Edinburgh – have fled to Bangladesh. Many have experienced horrific violence and destruction of their homes and villages. They are traumatised, vulnerable and desperately need our help’.


“The eyes of the world or on the Rohingya. Having heard their cries, we must respond,” he said. “I urge everyone pray for the Rohingya people and give whatever they can to help them through this terrible situation.”


In just August and September alone, at least 3000 people were killed by Myanmar security forces, according to the Holy See.


A study carried out by Yale Law School concluded in 2015 that there is essentially a campaign against the Rohingya, which could be classified as genocide under international law. Al Jazeera English and Fortify Rights found that the Myanmar military are targeting the Rohingya because of their ethnicity and religion.


Despite the Rohingya people being historically traceable as far back as the eighth century, Myanmar doesn’t legally see them as one of the ‘eight national races’. They are not allowed freedom of movement, state education or civil service jobs. This leaves the Rohingya as some of the most persecuted groups in the world, and the legal conditions they face have been compared to Apartheid in South Africa.


The recent wave of violence in Rakhine state began on August 25, and has driven almost 500,000 Rohingya people across the border into Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh. The limited supplies and services that were available for the refugees are under severe strain following the massive influx of desperate people. Existing settlements and camps have rapidly expanded and new settlements are forming and growing at an alarming rate. New arrivals of people are also being absorbed into the already saturated community.

PIC: Young Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh earlier this month.

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