Rohingya raise money for Buddhists displaced by Myanmar military
The army's offensive on Myanmar's westerly state has displaced nearly 200,000 people, the majority of whom are Buddhist civilians, since 2018 when the Buddhist-majority rebel group the Arakan Army (AA) began an insurgency against the Myanmar armed forces.
"We all are human beings, and we and those Buddhists in Arakan [Rakhine] all belong to the same country, irrespective of our ethnic identities," Mohammad Kamal Hossain, a young Rohingya man living at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh’s southeastern Cox's Bazar district, told AA.
"They once shared our sorrows and helped us during the 2017 massacre [by the Myanmar military]. Now we are doing what we can to support them in their time of need."
A team comprising more than 150 Rohingya youths, mainly students, collected donations from their fellow refugees in the camps in Cox’s Bazar, where more than a million Rohingya have settled.
Calling themselves the Arakan Altruism Society and Educational Network, the team raised 500,000 Myanmar Kyat ($383) and sent to displaced Buddhists via their relatives, said Hossain.
"We are always in contact with our friends in Rakhine and will always stand by our countrymen, regardless of our religious or ethnic identities," he said.
Earlier this year, Rohingya in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State, donated 300,000 Myanmar Kyat ($230) to help others who had been displaced.
Last month, 29 Rohingya advocacy groups around the world announced their solidarity with other Rakhine civilians who were being persecuted by the Myanmar army.
"Our fight for justice is a fight for everyone that has been killed, injured or abused by the Tatmadaw," read the joint statement, referring to the military by its Myanmar name.
It accused the military of committing "war crimes and atrocities" against Rakhine civilians.
"For us Rohingya, these crimes are horrifically familiar," it said. "We stand in solidarity with our Rakhine brothers and sisters."
Military operations in 2017 forced some 750,000 Rohingya to flee from Rakhine to Bangladesh in violence that now sees Myanmar facing genocide charges at the UN’s top court.
Agencies contributed to this report.
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