Rohingyas are a Muslim people living in the Arakan region. As of 2012, 800,000 Rohingyas live in Myanmar. The United Nations says that they are one of the most persecuted minorities of the world. As a result of systematic discrimination they have endured over the past years, many of them have migrated to Bangladesh and Malaysia and currently 300,000 Rohingya Muslims live in Bangladesh and 24,000 in Malaysia
The persecution of the Rohingya Muslims dates back to the early World War II when the Japanese forces invaded Burma which was then under the British colonial rule. It’s said that on March 28, 1942, about 5,000 Muslims were massacred in Minbya and Mrohaung Townships by the Rakhine nationalists. According to Amnesty International, the Rohingya Muslims have long suffered from human rights violations and as a result, scores of them immigrated to neighboring Bangladesh for better living conditions.
One instance of discrimination against the Muslims of Rohingya is that they are denied the right of citizenship by the government. Many of them have escaped to Bangladesh and as many as 111,000 of them live in the Thai-Myanmar border.
According to the website of Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO), Rohingya Muslims require government permission to marry, are forbidden from having more than two children per family and are subjected to modern-day slavery through forced labor. Because the national government denies them the right to citizenship in their homeland, many Rohingyas have their land confiscated and they are restricted from travel.
The Human Rights Watch considers the denial of the right of citizenship the most important problem the Muslims of Rohingya face. The government of Myanmar considers the Rohingyas to be “resident foreigners.” This lack of full citizenship rights means that the Rohingya are subject to other abuses, including restrictions on their freedom of movement, discriminatory limitations on access to education, and arbitrary confiscation of property.
(Bangkok) – Burmese security forces committed killings, rape, and mass arrests against Rohingya Muslims after failing to protect both them and Arakan Buddhists during deadly sectarian violence in western Burma in June 2012. Government restrictions on humanitarian access to the Rohingya community have left many of the over 100,000 people displaced and in dire need of food, shelter, and medical care.
The 56-page report, “‘The Government Could Have Stopped This’: Sectarian Violence and Ensuing Abuses in Burma’s Arakan State,” describes how the Burmese authorities failed to take adequate measures to stem rising tensions and the outbreak of sectarian violence in Arakan State. Though the army eventually contained the mob violence in the state capital, Sittwe, both Arakan and Rohingya witnesses told Human Rights Watch that government forces stood by while members from each community attacked the other, razing villages and committing an unknown number of killings.
No Refuge: The Rohingya’s Struggle for Survival and Dignity
Weak, dehydrated, and traumatized, the Rohingya people from western Myanmar, who arrive on Thailand’s shores after crossing the Andaman Sea, come with alarming stories.
The Rohingya, a minority Muslim ethnic group, have suffered decades of restriction and indignity in Myanmar, which has led countless people to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, to Thailand, and beyond. Those who make the often risky and dangerous journeys find their suffering far from over. They face detention, deportation, or life in overcrowded and unsanitary refugee camps. From its projects in Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Thailand, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has witnessed first-hand the medical consequences of the Rohingya’s chronic humanitarian crisis.
“I was relieved to make it to shore alive,” said one man who came by boat to Thailand last year. “At sea, I saw another boat carrying around 80 people sink in front of my eyes. I think everyone died.”
opened fire on , committed rape and stood by as rival mobs attacked each other during a recent wave of , a rights watchdog said Wednesday.
The authorities failed to protect both Muslims and Buddhists and then “unleashed a campaign of violence and mass roundups against the Rohingya”, New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a report.
The violence which erupted in June in between Buddhists and Rohingya has left about 80 people dead from both sides, based on official figures — an estimate that HRW said appeared “grossly underestimated”.
Hundreds of Rohingya men and boys have been rounded up and remain incommunicado in the western region of the country formerly known as Burma, it said.
Burma: UN calls for inquiry over Rakhine violence
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) says about 80,000 people have been displaced following inter-communal violence.
The agency says most of those displaced are living in camps and more tents are being airlifted in to help them.
The latest violence in Rakhine state began in May when a Buddhist ethnic Rakhine woman was raped and murdered by three Muslims.
On 3 June, an unidentified mob killed 10 Muslims.
Ms Pillay’s office says that since then at least 78 people have been killed in ensuing violence but unofficial estimates are higher.
“We have been receiving a stream of reports from independent sources alleging discriminatory and arbitrary responses by security forces, and even their instigation of and involvement in clashes,” Ms Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said.
“Reports indicate that the initial swift response of the authorities to the communal violence may have turned into a crackdown targeting Muslims, in particular members of the Rohingya community.”
She welcomed a government decision to allow a UN envoy access to Rakhine state next week, but said it was “no substitute for a fully-fledged independent investigation”.
‘Scared to return’
The UNHCR says that about 80,000 people had been displaced in and around the towns of Sittwe and Maungdaw.
Spokesman Andrej Mahecic said that many were too scared to return home while others were being prevented from earning a living.
“Some displaced Muslims tell UNHCR staff they would also like to go home to resume work, but fear for their safety,” he said.
Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi recently called for laws to protect the rights of ethnic minority groups.