The Rohingya are the world’s most persecuted minority. Natives of Arakan State, they have suffered decades of institutionalised apartheid, been denied their citizenship rights, freedom of movement, access to education, health services and land rights. They are subjected to arbitrary arrests, sexual violence, forced labour, extortion, and collective punishment.
On 25 August 2017, the Myanmar military perpetrated a genocide against them forcing a million Rohingya to flee to Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, where they now inhabit the world’s largest refugee camp. This is currently the subject of a case at the International Court of Justice.
Presently most Rohingya live in exile; Bangladesh 1.2 Million (with 35 000 babies born annually), Myanmar 600,000 of which 130 000 have been forced into IDP camps since 2012, Malaysia 185 000, Thailand 50 000, India 40 000 and other 500 000.
By not recognising them as refugees, states have found a means to evade affording the Rohingya the bouquet of rights which accrue to refugees. Practically, this means that they often have no freedom of movement, access to education or health services, freedom from torture and degrading treatment or the right to provide for themselves and their families.
Since 2020, Bangladesh has relocated 25 000 Rohingya refugees to Bhasan Char, a remote silt island. The Rohingya who live there, find life on the island alienating and restrictive due to the limited facilities and lack of adequate protection from extreme weather. Grave conditions on the island make it a prison for those forced to live there, leading them to attempt escape.
Despite the coup in Myanmar, states persist with repatriation plans without consulting the Rohingya on issues pivotal to their safe, protected, dignified, and sustainable return to Myanmar, including the reinstatement of their citizenship rights.
Facing such a dire situation, in both Myanmar and Bangladesh, has forced 1000’s of Rohingya to undertake perilous sea voyages which have left hundreds dead in the last year alone.
It is our collective responsibility to raise our voices for the Rohingya.
Join the movement, on our 10th annual #Black4Rohingya by wearing black and sharing your photos and messages of solidarity on Tuesday 13 June 2023, across social media platforms.
- Euro-Med Monitor to HRC: Judicial independence in Tunisia and Bahrain must be upheld - September 19, 2023
- Muslims still facing hate, discrimination 22 years after Sept. 11 attacks - September 12, 2023
- An American “covenant, bond, pledge, and commitment” to what? - September 12, 2023