Rohingya Migrant Crisis


“How many Rohingya have to die;
how many Rohingya women will be raped;
how many communities will be razed before you
raise your voice in defense of those who have
no voice?”

– Nobel Women’s Initiative in an open letter
to Aung San Suu Kyi

 

                       Facts:

      Where:

               Rakhine State, Myanmar

      Population:

               1 million – 2 million

      Deaths:

               At least 2,000 since 2016

      Refugees/Displaced People:

               Approximately one million

      Combatants:

               Arakan Rohingya Army (ARSA)

               Myanmar Military

 

“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity”
–  Nelson Mandela

 

                 Overview

The Rohingya people have been present in Myanmar since the twelfth century; however, they have traditionally been viewed as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. As such, they have never been awarded any form of citizenship rights, as have been awarded to 135 other ethnic minorities in Myanmar as a result of 1982 law changes. The Rohingya are treated as stateless, and in recent years have been subjected to professed crimes against humanity, which has given them the label of ‘the most persecuted minority in the world’. Due to this persecution, and institutionalized discrimination such as restrictions on marriage, employment, education and so on, a large number of Rohingya have fled to Southeast Asia, primarily Bangladesh. Within these countries, the conditions for the refugees are squalid, and resources stretched thin. The Rohingya are not being accepted fully in any country, and are often sent back to Myanmar from whichever country they have fled to. This has created a hopeless situation for the Rohingya people as a whole.

                 Key Actors:

  • Myanmar – Despite clear persecution of the Rohingya people, and calls of an ‘ethnic cleansing’ taking place, Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar has refused to address the situation.
  • Bangladesh – the huge numbers of Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh has created a humanitarian crisis. This has meant refugee camps are at full capacity and resources are scarce.
  • Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia – similar to Bangladesh, authorities in these countries are struggling to deal with the influx of Rohingya, who in turn, are granted little rights.
  • The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) – this group has repeatedly attacked Myanmar border police and military. It is made up of both trained militants and local Rohingya men.
  • Human Rights Watch, Fortify Rights, and the Arakan Project have appealed to international leaders to apply pressure to Myanmar’s government.
  • The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned Myanmar authorities of the ethnic cleansing which is apparently taking place, and proclaimed that the crisis has “spiraled into the world’s fastest developing refugee emergency”. The UN Security Council has called for an end to the violence, but are yet to impose sanctions on Myanmar.

 

                                                 Timeline:

 

                                        How You Can Help:

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