Sat, Oct 14, 2017 - Page 14 News List

The Exodus of the Rohingya

Rohingya refugees walk after crossing the Naf river from Myanmar into Bangladesh in Whaikhyang on Monday.

Photo: AFP

The Rohingya are a predominantly Muslim ethnic group that for centuries has called the area that is now majority Buddhist Myanmar home. Since a Burmese citizenship law — in which Rohingya were not recognized as one of the country’s 135 ethnic groups — was passed in 1982, the Rohingya have effectively been stateless within their own country.

Although many historians say Muslims have lived in this area since the 12th century, large numbers of Rohingya laborers migrated from today’s India and Bangladesh to what is now Myanmar during the more than 100 years of British rule (1824-1948), when such migration would have been considered internal.

After independence in 1948, the government deemed this migration to have been illegal, and this is why the Myanmar government refuses to give the Rohingya Muslims citizenship.

Myanmar considers them to be Bangladeshi; Bangladesh says the Rohingya are Burmese.

Recent killings attributed by the government to armed Rohingya in Myanmar’s Rakhine State has led to an army crackdown — which the UN has said includes actions such as extrajudicial killing, rape and arson — and a mass exodus of over half a million Rohingya.

The UN has condemned the ongoing violence, with one official describing the campaign as “textbook ethnic cleansing.”

Bangladesh now has a plan to build an enormous refugee camp of approximately 1,200 hectares for over 800,000 Rohingya refugees in Kutupalong near the Myanmar border.

(Paul Cooper, Taipei Times)









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