Bangladesh backs India's stand on Rohingya issue: Foreign minister Haque

Either way, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a special meeting of the Security Council in September the crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh was spiraling into "a humanitarian and human rights nightmare".

The influx broke out on August 25, when the Myanmar military unleashed a fresh crackdown campaign against Muslim villages in the western state of Rakhine following a series of armed attacks on army and police checkpoints there.

The news came as Bangladesh minister of Road Transport and Bridge Obaidul Quader said during a visit to Cox's Bazar the Rohingya refugees were an "unbearable burden" to his country.

"Because as long as that presence is there, it's a check to these kinds of atrocities", he said, referring to the plight of Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya minority.

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Amidst alarming reports that Bangladesh now has a bigger population of Rohingyas than Myanmar, the Eastern neighbour has asked India to not mix up the humanitarian and security aspects of the conflict in Rakhine. The government, however, blames the Rohingya for the violence, claiming the Muslims set fire to their own homes. We call for implementation of recommendations of the (Kofi Annan-led) International Rakhine Advisory Commission to tackle the root cause of this crisis.

"Half a million people do not pick up sticks and flee their country on a whim".

Earlier this week, the United Nations warned of the vast pressure to accommodate refugees who have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, in an appeal for $430 million to provide aid for those displaced.

Buddhist-majority Myanmar has blocked most access to the area, although some agencies have offices open in towns there and the International Committee of the Red Cross is helping the Myanmar Red Cross to deliver aid.

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United Nations -led aid bodies have appealed for $434 million over six months to help up to 1.2 million people - including 300,000 Rohingya already in Bangladesh before the latest crisis and 300,000 Bangladeshi villagers in so-called host communities.

An EU delegation also joined the UN's whistle-stop trip to Rakhine, which took in Maungdaw and Rathedaung areas, explaining in a statement "this was not an investigation mission and could not be in the circumstances".

The UN has labelled Burma's refusal to grant access to Rakhine state - the scene of alleged ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims - as "unnacceptable".

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  • Ryan Wade