Aid Groups Fear Worsening Conditions for Thousands Fleeing Rakhine Violence
International refugee agencies and relief workers in Bangladesh and Myanmar are concerned about worsening conditions for the thousands of people who have fled sectarian violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
Vivian Tan, the Asia press director for the U.N. refugee agency, is in Bangladesh and told VOA’s Burmese service that there is a shortage of shelter for the more than 18,000 people who have fled over the border from Myanmar.
The International Organization for Migration and other aid groups have told VOA’s Bangla service that as many as 20,000 more people are staged just inside Myanmar, hoping to enter Bangladesh.
In Myanmar, some communities are packed with internally displaced people, and relief workers fear that the lack of food safety and personal hygiene facilities could spread infectious diseases, a VOA journalist reported.
People began flowing out of their villages in Rakhine on August 25, after a group of Muslim insurgents launched a series of attacks on police posts. There are reports that Myanmar security authorities responded with brutal raids on Rohingya villages.
The attacks, the worst violence in the region in at least five years, sent both Rohingya, who are Muslims, and people from the Buddhist majority scrambling for safety.
US Judge Approves Extradition of Former Panamanian President
A U.S. federal judge Thursday approved the extradition of former Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli to face charges of corruption and spying on his political opponents.
Judge Edwin Torres in Miami wrote that there are "reasonable grounds to suppose him guilty of all or some of the offenses charged...good faith to the demanding government requires his surrender."
Martinelli's lawyers say they will appeal. It is up to the State Department to decide if he will be sent back to Panama.
Martinelli was president of the South American country from 2009 until 2014.
He fled to Miami in January 2015 just days before the Panamanian Supreme Court opened a corruption investigation against him. U.S. authorities arrested him in June.
Martinelli, a wealthy supermarket magnate, is suspected of embezzling millions of dollars from a public school lunch program for poor children and using that money to set up equipment to spy on his political opponents.
He has denied the charges, calling them politically motivated.