The Rohingya people are a Muslim people who live in the Rakhine State of Myanmar (formally Burma). In Rakhine the number of Rohingya is approximately one million out of a population of over three million, making them a minority group amongst a Buddhist population both in Rakhine State and Myanmar. There has been an on-off insurgency by Rohingyan insurgents since 1947, initially wanted secession from Burma and annexation by East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Since 1972 Islamist movements have dominated the insurgency.
The Rohingya have long been seen as Bangladeshi immigrants by successive Myanmar governments. In 1982 they were stripped of their citizenship and effectively barred from voting in the 2015 general elections. There are severe movement restrictions on the Rohingya, affecting access to education, healthcare and employment. Political violence in 2012 left over 120,000 Rohingya internally displaced in squalid camps and refugees have fled to Bangladesh since 1978 and more recently to Thailand.
The current crisis was triggered by a lethal assault on three border guard posts on the 9th October 2016 by insurgents. This has led to a military crackdown that has seen villages burned to the ground, and numerous testimonies of beatings, murder and rape. Humanitarian activities have been shut down. The UN human rights office has said that the crackdown could amount to crimes against humanity. Myanmar’s neighbours, Malaysia and Indonesia, have heavily criticised the situation in Rakhine state. The Myanmar government denies any wrongdoing.
For more on the Rohingya Crisis see:
Dr Carl Turner,