The Rohingya Refugee Crisis- Myanmar

“We ran away from Burma to avoid the bad things they do to girls.”

-Mazeda, a  12-year-old Rohingya child in a refugee relief camp in New Delhi

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A Rohingya woman prays/Image Source: Asia News
  • They are stateless people who are not recognized by the Myanmar government as legitimate citizens anymore
  • The Rohingya people claim a centuries-old lineage in Rakhine, but according to the 1982  citizenship law enacted by the state’s former military dictatorship, the Rohingya are considered undocumented immigrants from Bangladesh
  • The Rohingya people face many restrictions from the state: they are not allowed to attend school, they cannot hold jobs, they must not own property, and they cannot get married among other restrictions
  • These restrictions are enforced through brutal methods like imprisonment, torture, rape, and blackmail
  • At least 186,000 people have been displaced by the conflict
  • 86,000 people fled the country between 2012 and 2014 alone
  • Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi also refuses to say anything about the inhuman treatment that is meted out to the Rohingya people in her country
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Rohingya Refugees escaping persecution via boat/Image Source: Huffington Post

“There are more than 250 people here. And almost 70 families. As you can see, this shack is tiny. It’s a one-room structure standing on cloth, flannel, and wood. All of us, 6 people of the family live in this one tiny space. It’s often embarrassing and uncomfortable. But we don’t really have a choice. The women’s condition in some ways in worse than that of everyone else. We don’t have toilets here. Men and women have no option but to defecate in the open. Can you imagine our humiliation and shame. And we are Muslim women. Also, it is difficult because sometimes men ogle at us, try to hide and watch as we go about the hygiene routine. It is scary. The worst time of the month is when we get our period. We barely manage with filthy pieces of cloth. And more often than not, that is not enough. There is no way to get a full-time water supply as such and that time of the month is misery.”

 – Testimony of Sanjeeda, a Rohingya woman in a refugee relief camp in New Delhi, India

The Rohingya-Rakhine conflict has led to the Rohingyas being called the ‘least wanted people of the world.’ Such a tag is perhaps the single most psychologically disturbing thing to happen to a people. The individual stories of the people stuck in this so-far unresolvable conflict is a small but significant window into the utter depths of despair and shame that the Rohingya people have been reduced too. The need of the hour is to assess international conflicts through a human lens, where individuals and families are seen as stakeholders, as much as the political actors. Otherwise, even if efforts at repatriation succeed, the conflict in the minds of these neglected victims would be far from over.

Source of the facts: Thomson Reuters Foundation News

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