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Bangladesh; United Nations: Bangladesh Urged to Accept Refugees from Burma

(June 15, 2012) The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has urged the Bangladeshi government to accept Burmese refugees fleeing sectarian conflict in the Burmese state of Rakhine. (Dhaka Won't Accept Myanmar Refugees, THE DAILY STAR (June 12, 2012); for background information, see 2012 UNHCR Country Operations Profile – Bangladesh, UNHCR website (last visited June 14, 2012).)

The refugee agency estimates that 800,000 Rohingya Muslims live in Burma, a country with a Buddhist majority. A large portion of this population is now fleeing violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine and seeking refuge in Bangladesh, Malaysia, and other neighboring countries. A Bangladeshi government official said that about 500 refugees from Burma tried to enter Bangladesh over a three-day period to escape the violence. (Bangladesh Sends Back Muslims Fleeing Myanmar, CBS NEWS (June 12, 2012).)

Although the UNHCR has urged the Bangladeshi government to accept the Burmese refugees, Bangladesh's Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that it would not accept any additional refugees. (Dhaka Won't Accept Myanmar Refugees, supra.)