The United Nations has warned that tens of thousands of displaced Rohingya Muslims living in camps in western Myanmar face “imminent danger” from torrential rains.
Some 125,000 Rohingya Muslims have languished in flood - prone camps since violence against Muslims erupted in the country last year.
John Ging, with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said on Thursday that the Rohingyas " are now in imminent danger of yet another tragedy when the monsoon rains hit… We must act immediately to prevent a predictable tragedy. "
Ging called on Myanmar’s government to provide new land for the Rohingya camps as the monsoon is expected to start in May. He also said the government has to help rebuild community relations, highlighted by the anti-Muslim violence in central Myanmar this month. "The gravity and urgency of the situation cannot be overstated. Community and religious leaders also have a major role in promoting a culture of peace and mutual respect in multicultural and multi-ethnic Myanmar," Ging added. Ging’s remarks came after the UN special rapporteur on Myanmar human rights, Tomas Ojea Quintana, said on Thursday that there were reports showing the government of Myanmar has been involved in the recent deadly violence against Rohingyas. “The military and police must now be held to account for human rights violations,” Quintana added. At least 40 people have been killed in central Myanmar after a fresh wave of attacks against Muslims broke out on March 20, prompting government officials to impose emergency rule and curfews in several areas. The new escalation of violence against the country’s Muslim population saw mosques burned, houses razed and charred bodies left lying in the streets, in what many witnesses described to a large extent as part of a well-organized campaign. Vijay Nambiar, the UN's top adviser on Myanmar, who toured the violence-hit town of Meiktila on Sunday, agreed that “much of this violence was planned” and called on the government to punish those responsible for the tragedy. Myanmar's government has been repeatedly criticized for failing to protect the country’s Muslim community, known as Rohingyas. Hundreds of Rohingyas are believed to have been killed and thousands of others displaced in assaults by Buddhist extremists, who frequently attack the Muslim community and burn their homes in the state of Rakhine.