With the ongoing surge of several new facebook and twitter posts, the millenial wonders, Who are the Rohingya? Why are they being prosecuted? What is happening?
The MagZone will help you figure this out and make you understand what is the Rohingya crisis.
Who are the Rohingya
The Rohingya are an ethnic Muslim minority who practice a Sufi-inflected variation of Sunni Islam. A majority of the Rohingya in Myanmar reside in Rakhine State, where they account for nearly a third of the population. They differ from Myanmar’s dominant Buddhist groups ethnically, linguistically, and religiously.
The Rohingya Crisis
The Rohingya trace their origins in the region to the fifteenth century, when thousands of Muslims came to the former Arakan Kingdom, now known as the Rakhine State. However, most of the Rohingyas trace back their ancestry to those who were brought into western Myanmar by the British colonial government for work when they took over Burma in 1824.
After the Britishers left, the Rohingya stayed on- Nameless, homeless, trying to make this foreign land a home for their children.
Since then, successive governments have denied the Rohingya’s claim and do not consider them as a part of Myanmar’s 135 ethnic groups.
Though the etymological root of the word Rohingya is disputed, the most widely accepted theory is that Rohangya derives from the word “Arakan” in the Rohingya dialect and ga orgya means “from.”
This, they believe is the Rohingya’s attempt at belongingness to the state and to assert their presence and recognitions amongst the residents, politically and emotionally.
People Of Nowhere
This exact conflict, the lack of belongingness leaves them deficit of any identity card, citizenship or rights. Myanmar claims that they are refugees from Bangladesh and the latter believe they are refugees from Myanmar. Neither country hosts refuge and the victims are forced to flee.
The government refuses to grant the Rohingya citizenship, and as a result the vast majority of the group’s members have no legal documentation, effectively making them stateless. Until recently, the Rohingya had been able to register as temporary residents with identification cards, known as white cards, that the government began issuing to many Muslims, both Rohingya and non-Rohingya, in the 1990s. Although these white cards did not grant citizenship, they did provide, to an extent, some recognition.
In 2015, due to the constant pressure from the Buddhist nationalists, the Rohingya were denied the right to vote, a privilege they were granted with their white card. The elections which were widely touted by international monitors as free and fair. However, no parliamentary candidate was of the Muslim faith.
Tortures Faced By the People in this Rohingya Crisis:
Malaysian authorities have discovered 139 suspected graves in a series of abandoned camps used by human traffickers on the border with Thailand where Rohingya Muslims fleeing Burma were believed to have been held. Police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said that a sweep of the hilly, jungle area found at least 28 camps along a 50-kilometer (30-mile) stretch of the border. At one of the camps, police found “a highly decomposed body”.
In the past years, the Rohingya have been brutally starved and tortured in jails, raped, burnt alive, beheaded, enslaved and buried alive.
Aside from being physically tortured, they have faced perpetual hardships at the hands of the government. Several rules have been laid out such as not being allowed to hold any government office and citizenship rights. Further clauses of discrimination restricted their movements and even marriages and birth rates within the community were closely monitored and inhibited.
While seeking permission to marry, they usually succumb to bribing the authorities and have to provide photographs of the bride without a headscarf and the groom with a clean-shaven face, practices that conflict with Muslim customs. To move to a new home or travel outside their townships, Rohingya must gain government approval.
A recent report about the Rohingya crisis shows that almost 1,000 Muslim Rohingya -many of them children as young as 10 – remain jailed in Arakan State for supposedly inciting the violence that killed so many Rohingya last year. DVB news said that torture, violence and the sexual exploitation of minors is rampant in the prisons in Arakan.
A mother of three living in the refugee slum in New Delhi told CBS News that soldiers raped her sister in 2012.
“I could hear her screams from behind a cupboard, but I was helpless,” said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous. “If I would have come out to save her, I would have been raped, too.”
Out of the Pot, into the fire.
The Rohingya have traveled far and wide, fleeing from one “safe” place to another. They travel by night across borders with the help of human traffickers who have no regard for life. The generally prefer to travel by sea since it’s the farthest getaway from their monstrous enemies. The journey by sea is dangerous and they are well aware of that. Most of the Rohingya do not make it but they still continue to travel this way.
It’s a sad display of how desperate they are to get away. They are migrating to the following places:
India refused to allow the Rohingya enter the country. However, it was found that roughly 40,000 Rohingyas illegally immigrated to Assam, West Bengal, and Jammu & Kashmir. This, however, has created some tension within the nation due to the prolapse of the Hindu majority Jammu. India is now working on sending the Rohingya back.
Many Rohingya have sought refuge in nearby Bangladesh, which hosts more than thirty-three thousand registered refugees. Some two hundred thousand to five hundred thousand unregistered Rohingya refugees are also believed to live in the country, according to UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates. Conditions in most of the country’s refugee camps are dire, driving many Rohingya there to risk a perilous voyage across the Bay of Bengal to Southeast Asia. In January 2017, Myanmar agreed to begin talks with Bangladesh on refugees, yet border posts in Bangladesh have forcibly returned Rohingya following violence in August.
Around two hundred thousand to five hundred thousand unregistered Rohingya reside in Bangladesh at the moment. They live in terrible conditions in refugee camps. These dire circumstances drive them to risk the perilous voyage across the Bay of Bengal to Southeast Asia.
As of June 2016, more than 90 percent of Malaysia’s 150,700 registered refugees were from Myanmar, including tens of thousands of Rohingya, according to the United Nations. Rohingya who have arrived safely in Malaysia have no legal status and are unable to work, leaving their families cut off from access to education and health care.
The military-led Thai government has cracked down on smuggling rings after the discovery of mass graves in alleged camps where gangs held hostages. Dozens of people, including a general, provincial officials, and police, were found guilty in 2017 of the deaths of trafficked Rohingya. But some experts say punishing traffickers only disrupts the networks, but does not dismantle them.
The Rohingya have also sought refuge in Indonesia, although the number of refugees from Myanmar there remains relatively modest. During the spring 2015 migration surge, Indonesia’s military chief expressed concerns that easing immigration restrictions would spark an influx of people.
Also Read | All You Need To Know About The Gorkhaland Crisis
It is apparent that this is an “Ethnic Cleansing.” We are the new generation and we watch them with our technology and our education. We are so fast that we are even capable of words before thoughts. How unfortunate that we feel like we have nothing at all, that the feeling of lack of power arises when we see such meaningful causes. The Rohingya are people like us. Helping them and people alike is the first step to saving our generation.
These were some facts about the Rohingya Crisis. Letting them in and providing them with shelter in India might be a concern for National Security but something needs to be done for them. Drop your views in the comments below.
Donate now to Total Giving and make a change.