Editor’s Note: We were fortunate enough to have received two articles about the situation in Myanmar, and we’ve combined paragraphs from both articles, as they are complementary to each other.
Despite not being widely publicized by the media, the Rohingya people, situated in South-Asia, are experiencing what any humanitarian would call a genocide. The Rohingyas are primarily Muslims and reside in Rakhine state in the majority Buddhist country of Myanmar. This group of individuals is considered to be stateless as they have been denied citizenship in Myanmar for over 30 years now (Randhawa).
They are also restricted from freedom of movement, state education, civil service jobs, voting, marriage and having more than two kids. One could compare their position to colored people in South Africa during the Apartheid if not worst. So basically, they’re strangers in their own homes (Rattan).
Military forces in Myanmar have mercilessly invaded the privacy and dwellings of the Rohingyas, raped the women, and slaughtered children. Houses have been burnt down to ashes, leaving 100’s of thousands with no place to call home, and there is a sense of the absence of security. While the federal government of Myanmar neglects to implement a strategy to aid these impoverished individuals, the quotidian murder and rape tolls in Rakhine State soar to the sky. These events are being denied by the government, and are being labeled as “fabricated stories.” (Randhawa).
Since this summer, the situation has gone downhill. The Buddhist population and the Burmese army started to attack and mercilessly kill innocent people, which in other words, means there was an “ethnical cleansing”. According to UNICEF, in the past month, over 400,000 people have fled their homes to Bangladesh and about 90% of the refugees are women, children and elderly. Ironically, Buddhism is considered as one of the most peaceful religions, but in Myanmar, it’s a whole other story (Rattan).
According to the United Nations, Myanmar is carrying out with a “cultural cleansing” of the country, where all the “undesirables” are being persecuted and rapidly removed. To escape the animal-like violence of the soldiers, over 500,000 Rohingya people have fled to Myanmar’s neighbor: Bangladesh. The solution is not merely found at the Bangladeshi camps; there are even more complications. At these camps, young girls are lured into the sex trafficking business, causing them to be separated from their already psychologically-broken families. According to Dhaka Tribune, 6/10 of the children seeking protection at the Bangladeshi camps are children, which accelerate the traffickers’ business. The torture does not end here: the kidnapping of children is a common occurrence with the Rohingya refugees. Since the process of fleeing home is a dangerous journey, numerous children get lost. Also according to Dhaka Tribune, the Rohingya refugee, Nazir Ahmed, has reported that 1,200 lost children were found, and reconciled with their respective families (Randhawa).
In such a terrifying and heartbreaking genocide, the watchful world turns to Aung San Suu Kyi, the prime minister of Myanmar and Nobel peace prize laureate. In September 2017, Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, conversed with Aung San Suu Kyi and displayed deep concerns regarding the critical and unjust conditions of the minority Muslims and ethnic groups that are residing in Myanmar. When being inquired about the persecution of the Rohingya people, there seems to be a lack of concern coming from Aung San Suu Kyi, leading some to think that her peace prize should be revoked (Randhawa).
Children scream out of terror, mothers are separated from their beloved, and injustice is planting its foot firmly on the citizens of Rakhine State. The world has previously witnessed a situation similar to the commencement of the Rohingya genocide, except that this similar situation occurred during World War 2 (Randhawa).
Photo Credits: “Rohingya Muslim children wait to receive food at Thaingkhali refugee camp in Ukhiya, Bangladesh.” Photograph: AM Ahad/AP
Written By: Hifza Randhawa & Vishaldip Rattan