Turkish charity rush to aid desperate Myanmar Muslims
Turkish relief organizations have mobilized efforts to send aid packages to Muslims in Myanmar who long have been facing discrimination in the Asian country and have been targeted in killings by local Buddhists.
Kimse Yok Mu (Is anybody there) charity sent scores of aid packages to Muslim refugees in Bangladesh’s Cox Bazaar, fleeing Myanmar’s one of the most deadly conflict.
The refugees thanked Turkish people for their generous aid, private Cihan news agency reported. It is difficult to send aid to Myanmar’s some 15,000 Muslim refugees in Bangladesh because their camps are located in inaccasible mountainous areas.
Communal violence is grinding on in western Myanmar weeks after the government declared a state of emergency there, and Muslim Rohingyas are increasingly being hit with targeted attacks that have included killings, rape and physical abuse, Amnesty International said in a report.
Amnesty International accused both security forces and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists of carrying out new attacks against Rohingyas, who are seen as foreigners by the ethnic majority and denied citizenship by the government because it considers them illegal settlers from neighboring Bangladesh.
After a series of isolated killings starting in late May that left victims on both sides, bloody skirmishes quickly spread across much of Myanmar's coastal Rakhine state. The government declared a state of emergency June 10, deploying troops to quell the unrest and protect both mosques and monasteries. Authorities said at least 78 people were killed and thousands of homes were burned down or destroyed - with the damage roughly split evenly between Buddhists and Muslims.
The worst of the violence subsided late last month, but communal violence has ground on. Now it is being directed mostly at the Rohingya population.
According to a report released by the Turkish aid organization Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH), more than 1,000 Rohingya Muslims living in Myanmar have been killed and more than 90,000 have been left homeless since the violence started.
Myanmar has long faced tension with many of its ethnic minorities, who usually live in border regions. Although the new government has concluded cease-fires with many, there are still unresolved issues, and armed combat continues between the government and the Kachin minority in the north.
The UN estimates that 800,000 Rohingya live in Myanmar today. Thousands attempt to flee every year to Bangladesh, Malaysia and elsewhere in the region to escape a life of abuse that rights groups say includes forced labor, violence against women and restrictions on movement, marriage and reproduction.
Kimse Yok Mu official Ramazan Korkut said uninterrupted mansoon rains make it difficult for their charity to take food and aid to the refugees and that they had to take the aid thanks to manpower.
Officials from the foundation on the ground say their aid throughout holy Muslim month of Ramadan will increasingly continue in a coordinated way following the more inspections in refugee camps.
Meanwhile, at the request of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate has launched a nationwide campaign to aid Muslims in Myanmar and refugees in neighboring countries. Mosques have been asking Turkish Muslim to donate to the refugees following the Friday and night Ramadan prayers.
Other aid organizations, particularly the İHH, also distributed thousands of aid packages to the Myanmar refugees.
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