4/9/2017 540 Social Issues | Gender issues | View Recent Current Affairs

  • According to United Nation, in the last ten days, 87,000 Rohingya refugees have entered Bangladesh from Myanmar taking the total number of Rohingyas who have exited the country to 150,000 since last October. 
  • The mass exodus from the prominently-Buddhist country to Bangladesh comes in the wake of increasing violence between Rohingya insurgents and the Myanmar military.
  • Rohingyas, a community of just 1.1 million, have a longstanding rift with Buddhists in Myanmar.
  • On August 25 this year, an insurgent group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, conducted a coordinated attack on over 25 police and paramilitary posts in the western region of Myanmar. In retaliation, the Myanmar military launched a counter-offensive, which is called a “clearance operation” which killed at least 400 people — whom the Myanmar government claims were insurgents.

Global Response:

  • The United Nations condemned the attacks carried out by militants, but added that the government has a responsibility to protect all civilians “without discrimination”. It has appealed to the government to prevent the use of disproportionate force on Rohingyas as well.
  • Countries across the world have reacted to the latest bout of violence in Myanmar and the exodus of Rohingyas. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, describing the violence against Muslims to genocide, offered aid to Bangladesh’s President Abdul Hamid. He offered to shelter some of the fleeing Rohingya too.
  • Indian Supreme Court has agreed to hear an urgent plea made by two Rohingya Muslim immigrants against the government’s proposed move to deport their 40,000-strong refugee community back to their native Myanmar, where discrimination and possibly summary executions await them. A plea was filed in the supreme court by Rohingyas for protection of the life and liberty of their community. Petitioners say, the Centre’s move to deport them violated the constitutional guarantee that the Indian state should “protect the life and liberty of every human being, whether citizen or not.” As per the petitioners, “The proposed deportation is contrary to the constitutional protections of Article 14 (equality), Article 21 (right to life) and Article 51(c) (respect for international law and treaty obligations) of the Constitution.”

Who are the Rohingyas?

  • Rohingya are often said to be the world's most persecuted minority. They are an ethnic Muslim group in the majority Buddhist country and make up around one million of the total 50 million population.
  • They hail from the country's northwest and speak a Bengali dialect. Almost all live in Rakhine, one of the poorest states, with a population of three million.
  • About 140,000 Rohingya in the Rakhine state live in ghetto-like camps that they can't leave without government permission.
  • They are not regarded as one of the country's 135 official ethnic groups and are denied citizenship under Myanmar's 1982 Citizenship Law, which effectively renders them stateless.
  • To get citizenship, they need to prove they have lived in Myanmar for 60 years, but paperwork is often unavailable or denied to them. As a result, their rights to study, work, travel, marry, practise their religion and access health services are restricted.
  • Myanmar views its Rohingya population as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.
  • Since 2012, the UNHCR estimates that more than 110,000 people, mostly Rohingya, left on flimsy boats to countries such as Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia.


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