Three years have passed since members of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar fled to neighboring Bangladesh. They’re still unable to return due to the coronavirus pandemic and violence back home.
In 2017, armed Rohingya forces launched a series of attacks against police and military facilities in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine. Military troops countered with a large-scale sweeping operation, prompting over 700,000 people to escape the violence.
Coronavirus infections have been spreading in the refugee camps since May and 79 cases have been confirmed so far.
The densely-populated camps have poor sanitation, and fears of explosive infections and have kept the number of staff from the United Nations and other aid groups at about 20 percent of previous levels.
In the Rohingya’s home state of Rakhine, intense fighting has continued for two years between military troops and armed insurgents centered around another minority group seeking autonomy.
Due to such developments, the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh have not made any efforts over the past year to repatriate the Rohingya, and it remains to be seen when they can return home.