A senior U.N. official said an estimated $200 million would be needed to help the refugees in Bangladesh for six months. Aid workers fear a humanitarian crisis is also unfolding in Rakhine state, though Myanmar has restricted access.
“We think, urgently, actions need to be taken to stop this violence and facilitate humanitarian assistance, lower the rhetoric, lower the tension and ... start doing the hard work to solve the longer-standing problems,” U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Patrick Murphy told reporters.
Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has faced a barrage of international criticism over the plight of the Robing, for not speaking out more forcefully against the violence or doing more to rein in security forces over which she has little power.
Tension between majority Buddhists and Robing, most of whom are denied citizenship, has simmered for decades in Rakhine, but it has exploded several times over the past few years, as old enmities, and Buddhist nationalism, surfaced with the end of decades of harsh military rule.
Murphy, who spent three days in Myanmar this week, said there were “many points of responsibility” and he wanted to see everyone follow through on commitments Suu Kyi made to uphold rights and the law in an address to the nation on Tuesday.
“There’s the elected government, there are the security forces which have authorities that don’t fall under the purview of the civilian elected government, there are local leaders and there is the broader population, among which there are many emotions and many tensions,” he said.
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