The UN on Friday raised the number of Rohingya refugees who have arrived in Bangladesh since late August to 646,000. The latest data raise the estimated number of arrivals to 20,000 compared to figures released two days earlier, reports Efe news. The increase is due to a revised system estimating the number of new arrivals, as well as the uninterrupted flow of refugees who continue to arrive. “What happened this time is that the information from household level has been integrated. It’s an adjustment on the assessment approach that’s picking up more accurate data,” the co-coordinator of the UN Inter-Sector Coordination Group, Margo Baars, told Efe. “Also there has been a constant check of new arrivals over the last week.”
The increasing number of refugees shows that the influx of Rohingya from Myanmar to Bangladesh has continued unabated, confirming concerns expressed by human rights organisations and UN agencies about the effectiveness of an agreement signed between both countries on November 23 on the return of the refugees. The agreement also lays down a period of two months for the process of repatriation to begin, although Myanmar has put the precondition that the Rohingya – who are considered foreigners in Myanmar and are denied citizenship – have to provide identity documents and prove they have not participated in “acts of terrorism” before they are allowed to return.
Recently arrived Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh told Efe that attacks against their community were still occurring in the western Rakhine state of Myanmar, despite pressure by the international community to end the army’s campaign. The exodus began on August 25, when the Myanmar Army launched an operation in retaliation for an attack by a Rohingya insurgent group on multiple government posts. The military offensive has been accused of human rights abuses including the burning of villages by human rights organisations, with the UN saying that there were signs of “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing”.