Rohingya Refugees


Myanmar (Rakhine State), Asia

The Rohingya are a Muslim-majority ethnic group inhabiting Myanmar’s northwestern Rakhine State, near the border of Bangladesh. The origins of the Rohingya are highly contested – most claim historical status in the region from the twelfth century, although the Myanmar government repeatedly refers to them as ‘illegal immigrants’. Since the end of the colonial era, the Rohingya have been routinely subjected to worsening oppression and discrimination, rendering them the “most persecuted minority in the world,” according to the United Nations.

Myanmar (officially called Burma until 1989) has imposed a series of discriminatory policies that effectively bar the Rohingya from participating in civic life. Since 1949, most Rohingya have been denied citizenship, and a series of laws since then have reinforced and intensified this. As a result, they are a stateless people, meaning they are not protected by the civic laws of any country. The Rohingya are also extremely limited in their ability to marry, secure employment, or access education. 

In recent years, the situation has sharply escalated and roughly one million Rohingya have fled into neighboring Bangladesh. The Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s armed forces) has intensified their crackdown on the Rohingya, embarking on a colossal ethnic cleansing campaign. The Rohingya have experienced extrajudicial killings, rape, forced labour, and many of their villages have been burned to the ground. Many had no choice but to flee to Bangladesh, where they are living in precarious refugee camp settlements in Cox’s Bazar. Though, due to overcrowded camps, many refugees have been relocated to a third country or Basan Char, a remote island that lacks proper infrastructure and is prone to inclimate weather.

In November 2019, Gambia filed a case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Myanmar for violating the Genocide Convention. Aung San Suu Kyi, a democracy fighter and nobel peace prize winner, defended Myanmar in preliminary hearings as she stated there was “no genocide in Rakhine,” and refused to acknowledge the Rohingya. The hearings continued into February 2022 and Myanmar routinely denied the accusation of genocide, claiming it was organizing a counterinsurgency campaign. 

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

Key Facts

Estimated 24,000

people killed

Over 926,000

Refugees in Bangladesh

140,000 people

trapped in camps

Deaths: Myanmar has reported 400 deaths since the beginning of the recent crackdown. However, since August 25, 2017, human rights organizations have estimated approximately 24,000 Rohingya have been killed

Bangladesh: 909,000 people are trapped in Bangladesh with little rights. Majority of these refugees are women and children. Approximately 40% of them are under the age of twelve.

Kutupalong Refugee Settlement: Population of 919,000. This is the largest refugee camp in the world and holds the majority of the Rohingya refugees.

UNHCR: The United Nations have provided significant resources to Rohingya refugees, as well as providing assistance during the monsoon season (May-September). UNHCR has passed a resolution on the situation of human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar. The Council urges Myanmar to take all measures necessary to reverse and abandon policies, directives and practices that marginalize Rohingya Muslims and other minorities.

R2P: “Responsibility to Protect (R2P)” doctrine as customary International law. The United Nations and other states have a responsibility to intervene in Myanmar, whether diplomatically or forcefully.

The Key Actors

The Situation

Classification:

Genocide, sectarian violence and violation of International Law

Analyst’s suggestions:

The situation is currently static. With the recent and sudden escalation of the situation in Afghanistan, the geopolitical attention has shifted towards the Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban administered so called “Islamic Emirates.” The world community has overlooked the gruesome situation Rohingya’s are in for the past 70 plus years.

Worsening

Current Situation:

The Advisory Commission on Rakhine State has comprehensively recommended creating conditions that are beneficial to the Rohingya people’s safe and sustainable return will require whole of society engagement. These include lifting restrictions on freedom of movement, reconfirming that internally displaced Rohingya can return to their own villages and providing a clear pathway towards citizenship.

Timeline of the crisis

After the first Anglo-Burmese War, the British incorporated the Arakan (Rakhine) region into their empire. During the British colonial rule, they encouraged tens of thousands of Bengali migrants to move to Arakan to work as migrant labourers.

During the British colonial rule, they encouraged tens of thousands of Bengali migrants to move to underpopulated Arakan to work as migrant labourers. This is one of the main examples the Myanmar government uses to justify barring the Rohingya from becoming citizens – they claim the Rohingya are not native, but the product of British colonialism.

A wave of anti-Indian and anti-Muslim riots across Rangoon (Yangon) and other major cities broke out, leaving 204 dead. Throughout the British rule, the various ethnic groups, including the Rohingya, were pitted against each other through the ‘divide and rule’ policy.

During the Campaign in Burma, the Rohingya fought alongside the British while the Burman and Rakhine ethnic groups sided with the Japanese. This caused anti-Rohingya sentiments across the country.

After over a century of colonial rule, Burma gained their independence. Under the 1948 Union Citizenship Act that was passed on the same day, the Rohingya were not recognized as one of the “indigenous races of Burma.”

Upon a successful military takeover, the country’s constitution was purged and a military junta was established. The military promoted nationalism based on the country’s Buddhist identity and classified the Rohingya as the common enemy to unite the rest of the nation.

In 1978, the Burmese government embarked on an ethnic cleansing campaign called Operation Naga Min (Dragon King) against “illegal immigrants.” They particularly targeted the Rohingya, who they referred to as illegal Bengali immigrants, subjecting them to rape, murder, and arbitrary arrest. Months later, after an agreement with Bangladesh, 180,000 Rohingya were repatriated to Burma.

The 1982 Citizenship Law stripped the rights of most Rohingya, effectively rendering them stateless.

The Tatmadaw (Myanmar Military Forces) engaged in another ethnic cleansing campaign in December, 1991 called Operation Pyi Thaya (Clean and Beautiful Nation) to expel so-called “foreigners” in northern Rakhine State. Between 200,000 and 250,000 Rohingya refugees fled to Bangladesh.

Three Rohingya individuals were accused of allegedly raping and killing a Rakhine Buddhist girl. That month, Buddhist mobs initiated retaliatory violence against the Rohingya, leaving 98 dead.

Religious violence in Rakhine State left over two hundred Rohingya dead and close to 150,000 homeless.

Radical Buddhist monks instigated anti-Muslim riots and campaigns across the country, leaving dozens dead.

By April 2013, tens of thousands of Rohingya fled or lost their homes. While many remained displaced within Myanmar, thousands crossed into neighbouring Bangladesh. 

A constitutional referendum allowed the Myanmar government to eradicate Rohingya identification cards and revoke their right to vote.

Between January and May of 2015, an estimated 30,000 Rohingya refugees fled Myanmar and Bangladesh by boat, attempting to seek refuge in neighbouring Southeast Asian countries. Many nearby countries refused their entry, leaving 8,000 stranded at sea.

Assaults on border guards and Myanmar officials in the Rakhine State left nine police officers killed. A military crackdown ensued, which sent an estimated 87,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh.

In an interview with the BBC, Aung San Suu Kyi said “I don’t think there is ethnic cleansing going on…I think ethnic cleansing is too strong an expression to use for what is happening.”

ARSA attacks on at least 20 police outposts killed 12 security officers led to military ‘clearance operations’. These operations included burning down whole Rohingya villages, triggering a mass migration of Rohingya to Bangladesh.

The UN stated that ethnic cleansing had occurred against the Rohingya. In the weeks before, an estimated 300,000 Rohingya refugees fled to Bangladesh.

After circulating news of security officers killing innocent Muslims, raping young women and setting houses on fire, Suu Kyi finally broke her silence. She stated she wanted to “…find out why this exodus is happening.” This left many disappointed by her leadership.

The Myanmar government announces that approximately 200 Muslim villages situated in Rakhine have been abandoned. The UN Secretary-General calls the crisis “the world’s fastest developing refugee emergency and a … human rights nightmare.”

Global leaders and international organizations promise $344 million to fund humanitarian relief programs for the Rohingya refugees. However, the figure was still $90 million less than what the UN needed to adequately address the crisis. The United States also threatened to sanction Myanmar, adding that US aid cannot be used to fund the Burmese military’s campaign against the Rohingya.

Bangladesh signed a deal with Myanmar to return hundreds of thousands of Rohingya. This agreement has been criticised, as it is unclear whether Myanmar is in a position to house Rohingya with no threat of persecution.

Myanmar announced a deal with two UN agencies for the return of refugees from Bangladesh. The Rohingya are concerned that the agreement is not comprehensive enough to guarantee their safety.

A UN report accused six Myanmar generals of genocide and war crimes and called for them to face trial at the International Criminal Court. Myanmar rejected the findings.

Two Reuters journalists were sentenced to seven years in jail for violation of state secrecy laws. They believe that their reporting on the military’s violence against the Rohingya led to their framing by the police.

Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed to start the repatriation of Rohingya refugees. This announcement came less than a week after the UN warned that the genocide was still in effect in the region.

Two years since the last exodus of Rohingya refugees, over 900,000 individuals remain in Bangladesh. They live in bamboo homes, unchanged from their first arrival. Many of them survive off humanitarian aid and are unable to find employment.

The UN General Assembly passed a resolution condemning the Myanmar government and military human rights abuses against the Rohingya and other minorities. 

The International Court of Justice unanimously ordered Myanmar to prevent acts of genocide against the Rohingya. The Myanmar government responded by stating there is “no genocide in Rakhine.”

A wooden boat carrying 297 people, including 14 children, landed in Indonesia. The refugees said they left southern Bangladesh in late March or early April for Malaysia, but were turned away by both the Malaysian and Thai authorities due to coronavirus restrictions. This was the biggest arrival of Rohingya refugees in Indonesia since 2015.

Despite widespread public outcry, Bangladesh relocated more than 1,600 Rohingya refugees from Chittagong to Bhasan Char, a remote island in the Bay of Bengal. While Bangladesh claims this is necessary to alleviate overcrowding in the refugee camps, human rights groups cite safety concerns over the flood-prone island. 

The Tatmadaw detained de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other
members of the NLD and subsequently claimed power. Despite roadblocks, telecommunications barriers, and curfews, massive protests have broken out across the country in opposition to the coup. The coup will likely result in further devastation for the Rohingya, as the military has been the main driving force in the ongoing genocide.

UNHRC, in their 47 Regular session, has adopted a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.11) that calls for a decisive end to the grave violations of human rights and violence perpetrated by the Burmese military on the minority Rohingya Muslim community.

Dhaka has proposed Moscow to take a trilateral approach in resolving the Rohingya refugee crisis. Dhaka wants Russia, China and Myanmar military to strategize a solution. While this initiative had begun while Aung San Suu Kyi was Chancellor, the project was halted by the military coup.

UNICEF is working with the national governments and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to provide COVID-19 vaccine.

The Convention was signed on 28 July, 1951 in the aftermath of World War II, establishing the definition of who qualifies for international protection and the rights of asylum seekers. The UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, has expressed concern that governments are violating the convention’s principles by pushing people back from their borders, eroding protections, and seeking to outsource their responsibilities. Myanmar is a particular concern for the UNHCR.

A climate of fear has spread across Bangladesh’s sprawling Rohingya camps as militant groups and criminal gangs compete for control, refugees and humanitarians warn.

Women report being harassed, kidnapped, attacked, or extorted by men they believe are affiliated with Rohingya militant groups or gangs.

Roughly 48,000 registered Rohingyas will be vaccinated within three days with the help of the United Nations agencies.

Over the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted many States in Southeast Asia to tighten their borders, leading to the highest numbers of refugees stranded at sea since the region’s “boat crisis” in 2015.

India’s stance on the Rohingya crisis has raised questions about its democratic credentials as its response to the crisis has evolved swiftly. India announced the violent conflicts between the Buddhists and the Muslim minorities in Rakhine state as Myanmar’s ‘internal affair’ and gave cold shoulders to the fleeing refugees.

Head of Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh Ambassador Rensje Teerink has said the Rohingya issue will not disappear from the agenda until a lasting solution is found even though the world is now facing challenges like the Covid-19 pandemic and a situation in Afghanistan.

Flooding, fires and COVID bring fresh challenges for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, UNHCR says.

The World Bank wants the South Asian nation of Bangladesh to prepare a Refugee Policy Review Framework (RPRF) allowing Rohingya freedom of movement and other privileges, including education and jobs, like those enjoyed by Bangladeshis.

Gambia, a small African country, has taken Myanmar to the International Court of Justice for the Rohingya genocide. Gambia has been trying to convict Myanmar of crimes against humanity against the Rohingya in favor of OIC. Gambia represents the whole Africa symbolically in this regard.

Eight months after the coup against Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratically elected government, the Tatmadaw’s policies have taken Myanmar back in time to the 1980’s when the military ruled unchallenged.

Terrified farmers and families with children in Myanmar are fleeing into India as the military junta that seized power in a February coup continues to seek out and eliminate resistance along the country’s border.

The Tatmadaw, as the Myanmar military is known, has targeted areas that are home to thousands of armed civilians who call themselves the People’s Defense Force.

To ease pressure from the clogged camps and to address the social, environmental, and security concerns, the Bangladesh Government has initiated the Bhashan Char project. Despite this, it is arguable that Bangladesh’s approach trumps that of the UNHCR in engaging in the Bhashan Char.

A US commission on religious freedom has said that it is “gravely troubled” over the recent wave of violence against the minority Hindu community in Bangladesh and urged the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to launch a crackdown on extremist elements that fan anti-Hindu sentiments.

Violence has been on the rise in the country’s sprawling cluster of refugee settlements, with armed gangs vying for power and kidnapping opponents.

Former U.S. ambassador and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson heads to Myanmar on a private humanitarian mission that will focus on pandemic support

Bangladesh police arrested 172 Rohingya in recent weeks after a crackdown sparked by the brutal murder of a prominent community leader, the force said Monday.

Following the military coup 9 months prior, 1,236 people have been killed and 9,667 arbitrarily imprisoned. The junta has increased its violent attacks against Rohingya across the nation leaving many displaced persons. Many Rohingya are not able to access the humanitarian aid as the junta seizes the aid to weaken their resistance.

The UN adopted a new resolution for the Rohingya crisis by consensus as previous barriers (i.e. China and Russia) agreed a solution is required. The resolution urges Myanmar to realize its obligations under the bilateral agreement with Bangladesh and cooperate with the UN Special Envoy of the Secretary General on Myanmar to cease human right violations.

Japan has been a close ally to Myanmar and has previously taken steps to denounce Tatmadaw control after the coup. However, Japan has made steps to normalize relations with the junta by not imposing sanctions and accepting 5 diplomats appointed by the military junta to create “practical connections”.

Rohingya refugees are suing Facebook for $150 billion amidst the company’s inaction against hate speech directed at the Rohingya. Facebook has responded by dismantling networks, banning the Tatmadaw, and investing in Burmese-language technology to prevent future hate speech

The US, followed suit by Canada and the UK, imposed heavier sanctions on Myanmar due to the extensive human rights abuses. President Joe Biden invites members of ASEAN, a coalition that has led the efforts to resolve the crisis, to a summit at the beginning of the new year to discuss future actions.

Approximately 30,000 refugee children will lose their access to education at the discretion of the Bangladesh government. No rationale was provided but can be seen as part of their policy to prevent Rohingya refugees from integrating into their country. 

The new chairman for ASEAN, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, visited Myanmar and met with the leader of the junta, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing. The international community condemned the meeting as ASEAN previously refused to meet with Min Aung Hlaing to showcase their unity and express their disapproval. However after obtaining the chair in ASEAN, Hun Sen expressed his intent to allow Myanmar back into the organization as it is “incomplete” without it. The rest of the members disapprove of Hun Sen’s unilateral action and are concerned with its future actions towards Myanmar, especially due to postponing the planned ASEAN summit.  

Under the Bhashan Char project, the Bangladeshi government began to relocate 19,000 refugees to a remote island in the Bay of Bengal due to overcrowding. The island itself lacks proper infrastructure, especially in the face of extreme climate challenges as the island is vulnerable to cyclones and floods. The refugees have limited access to basic human needs and the government holds intentions to add another 81,000 refugees to the island.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reiterated its commitment towards voluntary repatriation of Rohingya refugees as Myanmar remains high-risk. Thus, the UNHCR expressed the need for longer term solutions such as education, health services, and possible resettlement to a third country. The island of Bhasan Char has undergone improvements for the livelihood of the refugees but has yet to be sustainable. The UNHCR calls upon the international community to support the refugees and the government of Bangladesh.

Replacing the detained Aung San Suu Kyi, the junta’s minister of international cooperation, Ko Ko Hlaing, and the attorney general, Thida Oo, appeared before the UN court to discard of a case against them for their acts of genocide directed at the Rohingya minority. In the preliminary objections, they claimed that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has no jurisdiction over them and must throw out the case.

Cox’ Bazar refugee complex is one of the largest in the world hosting almost 900,000 Rohingya refugees. A fire broke out in Camp 5 destroying approximately 400 shelters rendering 2,500 refugees without a home. Children have been reported missing and one four-year old passed away. Essential infrastructure that provides service to the refugees were also destroyed but humanitarian organizations have coordinated to ensure food, protection, and health concerns are met. The origin of the fire is unknown, similar to the fire that broke out in January in Cox Bazar with similar outcomes.

The United States declared the violence against the Rohingya as a genocide. The announcement drew upon similarities between the Holocaust and the Rwanda genocide. The evidence points to clear intent to destroy the Rohingya, a necessary component for an atrocity to be labeled a genocide. The declaration will not bring about significant new measures relating to economics as the United States already poised severe economic sanctions on Myanmar. Although, it will increase the pressure on the junta as the US will supply $1 million additional  funding to the Genocide Convention for Myanmar and support the ongoing investigation at the ICJ.

Scabies is a contagious skin disease and cases in the refugee camp, Cox’s Bazar, are on the rise. Cases doubled from 2019 to 2021 and the number of cases continues to rise into 2022. The Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) (i.e., Doctors without Borders) has been aiding to treat the cases but with such an unprecedented spike, medication is quickly running out. MSF resorted to treating those only with severe symptoms which exacerbates the rise of the infection throughout the camps. MSF stated that the cases are linked to the living conditions of the refugees due to the small and inadequate cleaning and sanitation and called for longer-term solutions such as improving their living conditions. 

The United Nations stated, “robust and sustained international support” is required to assist the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. The response plan integrated 136 international partners as it called for $881 million to support the refugees.

Rohingya Muslim refugees in India face more danger due to arbitrary arrests, violent assaults, and involuntary repatriation. Approximately 514 refugees in India are being held in detention while others are forced to return to Myanmar as part of violent attacks against Muslims throughout India. Human rights groups criticize the Indian government as they proclaim the deportation of refugees is “cruel disregard for human life and international law”. The human rights advocates claim the deportations violate the principle of non-refoulement which states that those who seek asylum may not be deported to areas they will face persecution. The government defends its position by stating they are not a signatory of the 1951 United Nation Refugee Convention which lays out the legal obligations of hosting refugees and the rights of refugees. 

Since 2020, Malaysia has taken a hard-line approach towards migrants and refugees as part of an effort to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. Following a riot, 528 Rohingya detainees escaped Sungai Bakap Temporary Detention Center in Malaysia. Six refugees were killed, including two children, as they were struck by vehicles crossing the expressway. In the aftermath, 362 have been arrested and the police search continues for more.

Rohingya refugee children on Bhasan Char in Bangladesh began to receive immunizations as the “consequences could be deadly” without. It is estimated that well over 10,000 children are on the island of Bhasan Char. The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) provided technical and financial assistance to the government of Bangladesh to promote the program.

In April 2021, ASEAN adopted a “five-point consensus” to treat the situation in Myanmar.  At the summit, the ASEAN leaders, including the junta chief Min Aung Hlaing, agreed to five points: immediate end to violence; dialogue between all parties to seek a peaceful solution; appointment of a special envoy to facilitate dialogue; humanitarian assistance by ASEAN; and the special envoy is to visit Myanmar and visit with all parties involved. A year later, Human Rights Watch urged ASEAN to apply and or adopt new responses in face of the growing crisis.

The process of resettlement to a third country has been difficult in the past years due to the pandemic. Though, several countries have opened their borders to accept more Rohingya refugees from Malaysia. There are an estimated 103,810 refugees in Malaysia with countries willing to double their acceptance.

UNICEF launched the Myanmar Curriculum Pilot, an initiative based upon their nations curriculum to ensure refugee children have the right to education. The operation received approval from Bangladesh authorities and 100,000 Refugee children living in Cox’s Bazar camp have enrolled to receive education with plans to begin later this month.

More than 30 schools were shut down across Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh. The camps host approximately 400,000 school-age children that attend community-ran schools to continue their education despite their refugee status. Though, authorities claim to have shut down the schools as community leaders failed to get permission to open them while others state they fear schools would encourage a permanent status within Bangladesh.

A boat bound for Malaysia with approximately 90 refugees onboard capsized and sank off the coast of Myanmar. Roughly 20 survivors were detained by authorities in the Ayeyarwady region (southwest region of Myanmar). The survivors state within a few days of taking off from Myanmar, the boat “ran into trouble”. More than 50 remain missing while 14 bodies have been recovered. 

he UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filipp Grandi, promised to boost UN presence on Bhashan Char, an island off the coast of Bangladesh. The island is a source of space to alleviate overcrowding at Cox’s Bazar but it lacks proper infrastructure for their goal of 100,000 refugee living space. However, with greater assistance from the UN and already working NGOs, more is being accomplished to accommodate the refugees on the island. Though, only 13% of the UN’s $881 million response plan for the Rohingya has been funded showing the need for greater assistance.

26 Rohingya refugees were detained by Assam Police for illegally entering the Cachar district. The refugees allegedly entered India through the West Bengal border and sought Cachar district as they were in contact with locals that promised them work. The refugees were detained for not possessing the necessary paperwork leading to 12 of the 26 remanded and placed in custody. The remaining individuals were children, 7 of which were allowed to remain with their mother while the rest were sent to an observation home, an institution established by the government for neglected and juvenile children. 

Refugees were attempting to cross the border back to Bangladesh. Some groups that managed to escape India were arrested in Bangladesh and later discovered to be on their way to the refugee camps. Rohingya human rights activists state the reason for refugees returning to Bangladesh is due to the Indian government’s focus on detention centers and involuntary repatriation.

The Thai government is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention which outlines the rights of refugees and state protocol to protect them. The Thai Navy recently found and detained 59 Rohingya stranded on an island south of the country making roughly 470 Rohingya in detention with no pathway to obtaining refugee status. The government announced it will maintain two policies: seize any boats stranded onshore and detain all of those accompanying it and intercept boats that advance onto the shore and provide them with necessary supplies and urge them to continue to Malaysia or Indonesia.

Thousands of Rohingya refugees staged peaceful protests throughout Cox’s Bazar with a slogan “Let’s go home”. The protestors handed out pamphlets that included their 19-point demands to safely return to Myanmar, one of which includes the dissolution of 1982 law that fails to recognize the Rohingya as citizens.

Malaysia is not a signatory of the 1951 Refugee Convention that establishes a state’s responsibilities to refugees. Due to this, Rohingya refugees are labeled as “illegal immigrants” and are at risk of refoulement. Within Malaysia, the Rohignya refugees have fallen victim to imprisonment, harassment, extortion, and deportation.

Likely due to the lack of economic alternatives and little law and order, criminal activities within the Rohingya refugee camps have increased. 14 armed criminal gangs have emerged within the camps engaging in rape, murder, drug smuggling, kidnapping, and human trafficking.

Thailand restrictions on cross-border aid and the military junta in Myanmar have resulted in just 41% of those targeted receiving aid in the first quarter of 2022. Though, informal aid along the Thai-Myanmar border has proven vital for reaching people in rural areas. 

India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) busted a human trafficking network from Bangladesh refugee camps to India. The victims were captured with a promise for better opportunities in India but then sexually exploited and resettled on forged Indian identity documents. Six people were arrested in connection to the case who will face persecution.

The ICJ rejected Myanmar’s preliminary claims which challenged the courts jurisdiction and Gambia’s response and legal standing in the case. The rejections will allow the case to proceed to further investigate the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar.

954 Rohingya have been diagnosed with AIDS indicating an increase in cases over the years within Cox’s Bazar. 612 are being treated and 61 have died due to the virus. Those concerned stress the importance of more testing to stop the spread of the virus throughout the camps.

Within the refugee camps, music has become an outlet for sharing emotional experiences and persevering their culture through the ethnic cleansing campaign in Myanmar. Thus, teaching the children music has become vital to expand their scope of learning and preserve the Rohingya culture. 

Dengue, a mosquito-borne viral disease, is endemic in Bangladesh but there has been recent surges in cases through Cox’s Bazar. Dengue is recurrent in this area of Bangladesh placing the refugees at high risk of secondary infections which poses greater risk of developing a severe disease.

China has promised to support Bangladesh in repatriating Rohingya refugees to Myanmar. China has constructed approximately 3,000 houses in Myanmar for future repatriated refugees and will organize an initial food support program.

Human Rights Watch is calling for Japan to halt its military training program with Myanmar as some participants have been linked to the Rohingya atrocities. A high ranking general that is responsible for a massacre of civilians in Myanmar received training in Japan. Activists state that Japan must immediately halt the training program and investigate whether participants are linked to the war atrocities.

Provisions were previously discussed to supply well-equipped shelters to refugees in India. However, The Ministry of Home Affairs released a statement that there has been no direction to provide flats to “Rohingya illegal foreigners”. The statement stated “Illegal foreigners are to be kept in the Detention Center till their deportation as per law.”

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told Michelle Bachelet, a visiting UN human rights chief, that hundreds of thousands of refugees must return to Myanmar. Hasina stated the camps in Bangladesh are overcrowded and  “the Rohingya are nationals of Myanmar and they have to be taken back”.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights, recently concluded her four-day visit to Bangladesh. During her visit, she met with the Prime Minister, civil society organizations, and traveled to Cox’s Bazar to speak with members of the Rohingya community. Bachelet concluded that it is unsafe for the Rohingya to return home and expressed the willingness of the UN to cooperate with Bangladesh to ensure the refugees safety.  

August 25th, 2017 marks 5 years since the beginning of Myanmar’s military violent operations against the Rohingya in the Rakhine state. The Rohingya remain vulnerable in the Rakhine state and lack adequate resources such as food, healthcare, and shelter. 

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