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Politics

Bangladesh faces growing strain in Rohingya crisis

Dhaka must be cautious over ties with China

| Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan
Caring for Rohingya refugees is likely to cost Bangladesh $1 billion or more annually and burden the country's development budget.   © Reuters

The numbers continue to rise. Over 640,000 mainly stateless Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar's western Rakhine state have fled on foot since late August to escape mass killing, arson and rape by the Burmese military.

They join several hundred thousand who fled earlier waves of Rakhine violence. Western powers, despite stern rhetoric, have so far stopped short of reviving or imposing new sanctions on Myanmar. At the end of November, Pope Francis visited Myanmar and left without uttering the name "Rohingya" publicly: The pontiff's deference to Myanmar's sensitivities perfectly reflects a world in moral retreat. Bangladesh, generous in hosting the refugees, has also signed a repatriation deal with Myanmar which makes no mention of the name "Rohingya."

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