Myanmar considers the Rohingya to be stateless, although they trace their presence in the country back generations. Bangladesh says Myanmar's failure to recognise its own citizens is a major stumbling block to resolving the crisis.

Nearly 340,000 Rohingya children are living in squalid conditions in Bangladesh camps where they lack enough food, clean water and health care
Nearly 340,000 Rohingya children are living in squalid conditions in Bangladesh camps where they lack enough food, clean water and health care (Reuters)

Bangladesh called on Myanmar on Monday to allow nearly 1 million Rohingya Muslim refugees to return home under safe conditions, saying that the burden had become "untenable" on its territory.

"This is an untenable situation," Shameem Ahsan, Bangladesh's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, told a UN pledging conference. "Despite claims to the contrary, violence in Rakhine state has not stopped. Thousands still enter on a daily basis."

Vital humanitarian aid must continue, Ahsan said, adding: "It is of paramount importance that Myanmar delivers on its recent promises and works towards safe, dignified, voluntary return of its nationals back to their homes in Myanmar."

Bangladesh's interior minister was in Yangon on Monday for talks to find a "durable solution", he said.

But Myanmar continued to issue "propaganda projecting Rohingyas as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh", Ahsan said, adding: "This blatant denial of the ethnic identity of Rohingyas remains a stumbling block."

Pope expresses support for Rohingya children

Pope Francis mourned the plight of 200,000 Rohingya children stuck in refugee camps a month before he heads to Myanmar and Bangladesh, the countries at the heart of an intensifying humanitarian crisis.

"Two hundred thousand Rohingya children (are) in refugee camps. They have barely enough to eat, though they have a right to food. (They are) Malnourished, without medicine," Pope said on Monday.

He has previously expressed support for the persecuted Muslim minority in Myanmar, calling them "brothers and sisters."

UN hosts donors conference for Rohingya refugees

The United Nations held a one-day ministerial-level conference in Geneva in partnership with the European Union and Kuwait to help meet a UN call for $434 million in funding for more than half-a-million Rohingya refugees who have fled violence in Myanmar for Bangladesh since August 25.

Officials say less than one-quarter of that has come in so far.

Spokesman Adrian Edwards of refugee agency UNHCR said on Monday that some 603,000 people have crossed into Bangladesh from neighbouring Myanmar since August 25, when security forces launched a violent crackdown targeting them.

According to UNICEF, the UN children agency, children, who make up most of the nearly 600,000 Rohingya Muslims, have fled violence in Myanmar only to experience a "hell on earth" in overcrowded, muddy and squalid refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh.

The massive influx of Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh has caused aid agencies to scramble to help the displaced. 

They are struggling to raise enough funds to feed, clothe and house those who have escaped violence in Myanmar.

TRT World 's Nick Davies-Jones reports.

UNICEF "Outcast and Desperate" report

Last week, UNICEF issued a report that documents the plight of children who account for 58 percent of the refugees who have poured into Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, over the last eight weeks.

Up to 12,000 more children join them every week, fleeing violence or hunger in Myanmar, often still traumatised by atrocities they witnessed, it said in a report "Outcast and Desperate".

Report author Simon Ingram said that about one in five children in the area are "acutely malnourished."

The refugees need clean water, food, sanitation, shelter and medical care to help head off a possible outbreak of cholera – a potentially deadly water-borne disease.

Ingram also warned of threats posed by human traffickers and others who might exploit children in the refugee areas.

The report features harrowing colour drawings by some children being cared for by UNICEF and other aid groups who are scrambling to improve living conditions in Cox's Bazar.

Source: TRT World