Posted: Aug 25, 2018 7:00 pm Updated: Aug 25, 2018 8:55 am
KUTUPALONG, Bangladesh (AP) – Thousands of Rohingya Muslim refugees on Saturday celebrate the one-year anniversary of the attacks, They took them to safety in Bangladesh and prayed that they could return to their homes in Myanmar and demand justice for their dead relatives and neighbors.
More than 15,000 gathered in the morning on a hill in the Kutupalong refugee camp, an extensive network of settlements that today home to nearly 900,000 Rohingya who have fled Myanmar to escape the violence.
The camps exploded last year after Myanmar's army unleashed a wave of anti-Rohingya attacks involving some 700,000 people on Aug. 25. Rohingya finally flooded the border. Thousands were killed in the violence.
"25th of August ̵
The demonstrators – men, women and children – marched through the muddy camp chanting slogans like "No more genocide, we want justice." Mass prayer meeting, a spokesman repeatedly shouted, "Who are we?" whereupon the crowd answered in chorus: "Rohingya! Rohingya!"
Most people wept as they raised their hands, while an imam who led the prayer sought God's blessing and said, "Please consider the people who were martyred put them to heaven."
Some of the protesters wore paper flags of Myanmar. The newly established shops in the camp were closed during the several-hour protest.
Also on Saturday, around 100 demonstrators from a group of non-governmental organizations formed a human chain outside the national press club in Dhaka, Bangladesh's capital. The international community's call on Myanmar's government to convict those responsible for murder, rape, and arson was reported by the English-speaking Daily Star
"We are Rohingya, we are Muslims, we have been expelled from our land, from our homes." said an unidentified spokesman on Saturday of the crowd. "We want justice, we want to go back to our homes."
But many doubt they will be able to return to talks between Myanmar, Bangladesh, the United Nations and international aid organizations for more than a year. Myanmar insists that the Rohingya can return and has built a number of camps for them, but few believe that they are safe there or that eventually they could be accepted as citizens.
While rohingya have lived in Myanmar for centuries, they have long been treated as outsiders, Muslims in a largely Buddhist nation, denied citizenship and many fundamental rights. Many in Myanmar ridicule them as "Bengalis" who came illegally from Bangladesh.
Most live in poverty in Myanmar's Rakhine state, just across the border from Bangladesh. Over the past few decades, over 100,000 people have fled to Bangladesh in previous waves of violence. There are currently more than 1 million Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh.
In an editorial on Saturday, the daily Bangladesh criticized Daily Star Myanmar for failing to make visible progress over the past year in repatriating refugees. They called for the international community to take action.
"We reiterate our call on the international community, in particular the United Nations, to investigate allegations of crimes against the Rohingya because the Myanmar government has shown little interest in winning those responsible for such abuses." It is time to The violence began on 24 August 2017 with a series of human rights violations to the judiciary "
" of attacks on Myanmar police stations by a small Rohingya militant In response, Myanmar's military and Buddhist mobs launched attacks, killing people and emptying villages, which many in the international community see as a calculated attempt to expel the Rohingya from the country.