The drama of the Rohingya

The drama of the Rohingya © Getty Images

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority group not recognized as legally residing in any country, are fleeing renewed violent persecution in Myanmar (Burma until 1989).



They fuel a deep migratory crisis across southern Asia that has attracted a lot of concern from the international community and several local Muslim nations. For decades the military in Myanmar have accomplished severe repression against this minority, causing hundreds of deaths and thousands of refugees according to NGOs and the media, but denied by Burmese authorities.

The violence against the Rohingya has intensified since 25 August 2017, when Burmese security forces were attacked by militiamen from the Rohingya paramilitary group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).

The clashes have caused hundreds of deaths in the state of Rakhine and have initiated an exodus that has forced at least 600,000 Rohingya Muslims to cross the treacherous border with Bangladesh. Humanitarian organizations including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have denounced the murder, rape and property burnings against Myanmar’s Muslim community and their villages.

These acts, loudly denounced by the United Nations -- which has been criticised for perceived lack of action on the matter --, have raised the accusation against Myanmar of implementing a policy of ethnic cleansing, a hypothesis rejected by the country’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1991, Suu Kyi has been widely accused by the international community for failing to intervene in the growing crisis, and for remaining silence about the violence against the Rohingya.

The Burmese authorities have been accused by international community of not intervening to stop the violence that has pushed increasing numbers of Rohingya to flee, and even of encouraging the persecution, of not recognizing Rohingya rights and citizenship, and limiting the access to humanitarian organisations.

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