Myanmar: Aid workers held over Rohingya crisis

Source: BBC A team of medical workers from an international aid organisation has been arrested in Myanmar. Members of Staff for Doctors of the World were detained on Saturday after assisting some 800 refugees,…

Myanmar: Aid workers held over Rohingya crisis

Source: BBC

A team of medical workers from an international aid organisation has been arrested in Myanmar.

Members of Staff for Doctors of the World were detained on Saturday after assisting some 800 refugees, some of whom are members of the ethnic Rohingya minority.

At least 18 workers were arrested on suspicion of possessing firearms and possessing large quantities of ammunition, the team said.

The treatment of the Rohingya, who are not recognised as citizens of Myanmar, has seen renewed tension.

In response to the crackdown the UN says about 750,000 Rohingya are seeking refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh.

The group of medical workers – 17 from Vietnam and one from Saudi Arabia – was in the Rakhine region of Myanmar to support displaced people and other communities, according to a statement from Doctors of the World.

The charity says the conditions were unsafe for the Rohingya to return to their homes, “adding that their lives are in peril”.

“The children, elderly and health workers who have fled through their open floodgates from the villages of the Rohingya villages have limited access to the basics of medical assistance. The conditions in the new camps are dangerous and inadequate for the full return of the displaced,” the charity added.

Following the treatment of the Rohingya in Rakhine, the charity added that it was “terribly concerned” by reports of the arrest of the health workers.

One doctor from the international charity who assisted the group said he has been receiving threatening messages.

“They [the Myanmar authorities] arrested my colleague and made me go to my department, but I am refusing to go. We have no right to arrest any third party. We treat all patients,” he said.

Rights groups condemn the arrest of health workers and say the workers could be in danger if they continue to support the Rohingya.

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