The refugee crisis in Bangladesh caused by the influx of Muslim Rohingya from neighbouring Myanmar has no parallel. Of the 919,000 that have sought shelter in the Bangladeshi border town of Cox's Bazar, now the largest refugee settlement in the world, fully a half million are children. Once welcomed as kindred Muslims, these refugees are now a clear burden to their host nation and the district authorities upon whom fall the onerous responsibility of not only providing food and shelter but also ensuring that they are protected from the ever-present danger of disease outbreaks such as cholera. Sadly, after the first waves of indignation over their plight, the international community is now generally silent.
The trickle of refugees reached a flood after the Myanmar military's operations a year ago that claimed an estimated 6,700 lives. The provocation for the violence was the deaths of 12 security personnel in a wave of coordinated attacks mounted by militant elements within the Rohingya. While an armed forces inquiry into the conduct of soldiers exonerated the army of all alleged atrocities, the authorities, thanks to the intrepid work of some journalists, were compelled to acknowledge the extrajudicial killing of 10 Rohingya men at the village of Inn Din in northern Rakhine state after the discovery of a mass grave. The convicted soldiers have been sentenced to 10 years' hard labour in prison.