Hollywood star and humanitarian Angelina Jolie has condemned sexual violence inflicted on Rohingya women amid the massive violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.
More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have entered Bangladesh after fleeing from Buddhist-majority Myanmar since late August, driven out by the military’s actions that the United Nations (UN) has described as a textbook example of “ethnic cleansing”.
Jolie, a special envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told a Bangladesh delegation in the Canadian city of Vancouver that she planned to visit the Rohingya victims of sexual violence.
“Later she mentioned accordingly in her keynote speech about the sexual violence faced by almost each female Rohingya who fled to Bangladesh and condemned the armed conflict in Myanmar,” Bangladesh’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday (November 16).
It, however, gave no details of Jolie’s proposed trip.
On Thursday, New York-based Human Rights Watch accused Myanmar security forces of committing widespread rape against women and girls as part of a campaign of ethnic cleansing.
The allegation echoes an accusation this week by Pramila Patten, the UN special envoy on sexual violence in conflict, who said sexual violence was “being commanded, orchestrated and perpetrated by the Armed Forces of Myanmar.”
Myanmar’s army released a report on Monday (November 13) denying all allegations of rape and killings by security forces, days after replacing the general in charge of the operation.
In parliament on Wednesday (November 15), Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reiterated that her country would overcome obstacles to resolve the Rohingya crisis, with the help of the international community.
“I strongly believe we will find a peaceful solution to the unprecedented crisis with the help of the international community, despite various obstacles,” she said.
There were already about 300,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh before the most recent exodus.