Turkey's foreign minister on Thursday shared Eid greetings with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh in a video call.
Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu spoke to refugees receiving treatment at the Turkish Sahara Hospital in the Cox's Bazar region, according to a source who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media. He also talked with surgeon Metin Acıel and inquired about the hospital.
"Our friends, Turkish doctors, AFAD [Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency] and the Turkish Red Crescent are always with you," Çavuşoğlu told the patients. Twenty staff members, including five doctors, work at the hospital, which provides free treatment to 1,000 people daily. The Rohingya, described by the U.N. as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attacks since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women, and children, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar's state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA). The report also said that more than 34,000 Rohingya were thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten. Another 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar's army and police, and more than 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned and 113,000 others vandalized.
According to U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock, who visited refugee camps in Bangladesh in April, there has been "no progress" in dealing with the reasons why Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh from western Myanmar's Rakhine State. He said Myanmar has failed "to put in place confidence-building measures that would persuade people it's safe to go back." He said the refugees he spoke to don't think it is safe to return and want to be assured of things like freedom of movement and access to education, jobs and services.
U.N. officials say that almost half the 540,000 refugee children under age 12 are missing out on education and the rest are only getting very limited schooling. "I think the world ought to worry about what this very large group of people will be like in 10 years' time if they don't get an opportunity to access education and a chance to develop a livelihood and have a normal life," Lowcock has said.
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