Bangladeshi government tells NGOs to stop providing services to Muslim Myanmar refugees


A demonstrator gathers with hundreds of others in Myanmar at Yangon's Shwedagon pagoda after ethnic unrest led to at least seven deaths in the western Myanmar on June 10, 2012.



The Bangladeshi government has ordered three international NGOs to stop providing services to Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar, throwing yet more obstacles in the way of the beleaguered minority group. 

IRIN reports Bangladesh is worried that humanitarian aid will encourage more Rohingya refugees to enter Bangladesh. Most are fleeing sectarian Buddhist-on-Muslim violence, which has recently caused the deaths of 80 people, reports Al Jazeera.  

The affected NGOs are Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders, Action Against Hunger, and Muslim Aid, all of which were told they must cease offering services in Cox's Bazaar, an area of Bangladesh nearby the Myanmar border, according to IRIN. 

According to Al Jazeera, one of MSF's free clinics serves upwards of 100,000 people. 

"To be forced to leave our patients is unthinkable and the repercussions life threatening," Chris Lockyear, MSF operational manager for Bangladesh, told AFP.

"We are astounded at being requested to cease our medical activities and deprive people of lifesaving services. We can only hope that the Bangladeshi government will re-consider," he told the news agency. 

Read more from GlobalPost: Burma troops kill Rohyinga Muslims: Human Rights Watch report

Human Rights Watch recently came out against Myanmar's governmental response to sectarian violence between Muslims and Buddhists, and its apparently discriminatory behavior towards the Rohingya, the GlobalPost reported.

"Government restrictions on humanitarian access to the Rohingya community have left many of the over 100,000 people displaced and in dire need of food, shelter, and medical care," commented Human Rights Watch, in its press release regarding the "The Government Could Have Stopped This" report on the violence.