Myanmar's Rohingya

Rohingya refugees waiting to be registered in Bangladesh. Image by Rajibul Islam, copyright Demotix (07/07/09).

Rohingya refugees waiting to be registered in Bangladesh. Image by Rajibul Islam, copyright Demotix (07/07/09).


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The Rohingya are a Muslim group from Rakhine State (formerly Arakan) in western Myanmar (Burma). According to the United Nations, they are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world, but opinion in Myanmar is divided.

Since the 1970s, legal and physical persecution has forced hundreds of thousands to flee in waves to neighbouring Bangladesh, where some have lived in appalling conditions in camps. The UNHCR has been assisting with the repatriation of Rohingya from Bangladesh since 2006.

In May 2012, inter-community violence was triggered in Rakhine State by the rape, mutilation and murder allegedly by three Muslim men of a local woman from the Arakanese (primarily Theravada Buddhist) community. On June 10, following riots and the Burmese media casting Rohingyas as terrorists and traitors, a state of emergency was declared.

Hundreds of Rohingyas have attempted to flee the violence to Bangladesh by boat but many have been sent back. The Burmese army has largely contained the sectarian violence, but abuses by security forces against Rohingya communities appear to be continuing.

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Myanmar's Rohingya

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23 Dec – Rohingya Refugees Rejected by Singapore
28 Oct – Confusion over Agreement with OIC to Establish Office in Myanmar
07 Aug – Bangladesh: Citizenship Rights for Myanmar's Rohingya?
01 Aug – Myanmar: Claims of Media Bias Towards Rohingya
27 Jul – Bangladesh, Myanmar: Rohingya Repression in International Spotlight
26 Jun – Myanmar: Rohingya Boat Refugees Left Floating by Bangladesh Government
16 Jun – Understanding the Violence in Western Myanmar
14 Jun – Bangladesh: Keep Border Open For Rohingya Refugees
10 Jun – Myanmar: Rakhine Villages Attacked
27 Jan – Myanmar (Burma): Betwixt and Between


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“Forgotten refugees”- the Rohingya in Bangladesh, by Amnesty International Australia (06/03/08)

Witness: Myanmar's imperiled Rohingya, by Reuters (15/06/12)

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Thumbnail image show Rohingya refugee woman in Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, by Flickr user digital.democracy (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

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