The Rohingya people (/ˈroʊɪndʒə/, /ˈroʊhɪndʒə/, /ˈroʊɪŋjə/, or /ˈroʊhɪŋjə/; historically also termed Arakanese Indians) are a stateless Indo-Aryan people from Rakhine State, Myanmar. There were an estimated 1 million Rohingya living in Myanmar before the 2016–17 crisis. The majority are Muslim while a minority are Hindu. Described by the United Nations in 2013 as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world, the Rohingya population are denied citizenship under the 1982 Burmese citizenship law. According to Human Rights Watch, the law “effectively deny to the Rohingya the possibility of acquiring a nationality. Despite being able to trace Rohingya history to the 8th century, Burmese law does not recognize the ethnic minority as one of the national races”. They are also restricted from freedom of movement, state education and civil service jobs. The Rohingyas have faced military crackdowns in 1978, 1991–1992, 2012, 2015 and 2016–2017. UN officials and HRW have described Myanmar’s persecution of the Rohingya as ethnic cleansing, while there have been warnings of an unfolding genocide. Yanghee Lee, the UN special investigator on Myanmar, believes the country wants to expel its entire Rohingya population.
Migration from the Indian subcontinent to Myanmar (formerly Burma) had taken place for centuries, including as part of the spread of Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam in the region. The historical region of Bengal (now Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal) has historical and cultural links with Rakhine State (formerly Arakan). Bengali-speaking settlers are recorded in Arakan since at least the 15th century, when the Kingdom of Mrauk U reigned. The population increased in the 17th century, as slaves were brought in by Arakanese raiders and Portuguese settlers following raids into Bengal. The term Rohingya, in the form of Rooinga, was recorded by the East India Company as early as 1799, but Burmese nationalists dispute its origins. Indian migration increased during the period of British rule, as Burma was a part of British India until 1937. Arakan had the largest percentage of British Indians in Burma. British Indians dominated the Arakanese capital and port city of Akyab.
During World War II, the Arakan massacres in 1942 involved communal violence between British-armed V Force Rohingya recruits and pro-Japanese Rakhines, polarizing the region along ethnic lines. In 1936 and 1939, several Arakanese Indians like Gani Markan were elected to the Legislative Council of Burma under the Burmese native category in British Burma. After independence in 1948, Rohingya leaders held high ranking positions in the Burmese governmentand parliament. In 1948, M. A. Gaffar sought official recognition for the Rohingya as one of Burma’s ethnic groups. One of Burma’s first two female legislators, Zura Begum, was elected by Rohingyas in 1951. In 1960, Sultan Mahmud proposed a separate province for the Rohingyas. Discrimination against minorities increased after the 1962 Burmese coup d’état. In 1982, General Ne Win’s government enacted the Burmese nationality law, which did not recognize the Rohingya as one of the eight “national races”, stripping the citizenship rights of Rohingyas. Following the 8888 Uprising and return of martial law, the Burmese military junta launched a crackdown against Rohingyas in 1991–1992, which caused 250,000 refugees to flee to neighboring Bangladesh and brought the two countries to the brink of war.
The Rohingya maintain they are long-standing residents of western Myanmar, and that their community includes both a mixture of precolonial and colonial settlers. The official stance of the Myanmar government, however, has been that they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Myanmar’s government does not recognize the term “Rohingya” and it prefers to refer to the community as Bengalis. Rohingya campaign groups, notably the Arakan Rohingya National Organization, demand the right to “self-determination within Myanmar”.
The legal conditions faced by the Rohingya in Myanmar have been compared with apartheid. Prior to the 2015 Rohingya refugee crisis and the military crackdown in 2016 and 2017, the Rohingya population in Myanmar was around 1.1 to 1.3 million They reside mainly in the northern Rakhine townships, where they form 80–98% of the population. Many Rohingyas have fled to southeastern Bangladesh, where there are 670,000 refugees, as well as to India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. More than 100,000 Rohingyas in Myanmar live in camps for internally displaced persons, and the authorities do not allow them to leave. Probes by the UN have found evidence of increasing incitement of hatred and religious intolerance by “ultra-nationalist Buddhists” against Rohingyas while the Burmese security forces have been conducting “summary executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture and ill-treatment and forced labour” against the community.
According to the United Nations, the human rights violations against the Rohingyas could be termed “crimes against humanity”.
adding page because of all this:
AFP news agency (@AFP) tweeted at 11:57 PM – 3 Sep 2017 :
#BREAKING UN says 87,000 Rohingya refugees arrive in Bangladesh in 10 days (http://twitter.com/AFP/status/904584249650454529?s=17)
Boryana Dzhambazova (@BoryanaDz) tweeted at 4:32 AM – 4 Sep 2017 :
Myanmar blocks all UN aid to civilians at heart of Rohingya crisis https://t.co/MgmxUPSDfY(http://twitter.com/BoryanaDz/status/904653344781762560?s=17)
Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) tweeted at 6:00 AM – 12 Sep 2017 :
Bangladeshi leader calls on Myanmar to take Rohingya refugees back https://t.co/AjGgOE0H55(http://twitter.com/WSJ/status/907574532445278208?s=17)
pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) tweeted at 6:52 AM – 12 Sep 2017 :
My god, this shot of Rohingya refugees watching their houses burn across the border in Myanmar (Masfiqur Sohan/NurPhoto) https://t.co/y7DZSVA3Ne (http://twitter.com/pourmecoffee/status/907587697035894786?s=17)
How one Rohingya Muslim man carried his parents for nearly 100 miles to escape Burma’s death squads. https://t.co/FQfOEc2PMA
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/cjwerleman/status/907603685626093569
@sarahmargon (@samchaltain rt)
We’ve put all our work on the Rohingya here for easy access: hrw.org/tag/rohingya-c…
Hans Lak (@HansLak) tweeted at 4:29 AM – 14 Sep 2017 :
Horrific: they’re beheading children! And THESE governments are funding the bloodshed against Burma’s #Rohingya: https://t.co/6PagGKaOOi (http://twitter.com/HansLak/status/908276562109362177?s=17)
Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) tweeted at 5:13 AM – 14 Sep 2017 :
Unicef estimates that 400,000 Rohingya may have fled Burma for Bangladesh as part of the ethnic cleansing unfolding under a Nobel laureate. (http://twitter.com/NickKristof/status/908287633561923584?s=17)
Mantra Fortune (@fleshofmyflesh) tweeted at 5:20 AM – 14 Sep 2017 :
@NickKristof @NABEELRAJAB “UNICEF estimates”.
Its a good source of income to pay for the overpaid UN suits in New York and Geneva. (http://twitter.com/fleshofmyflesh/status/908289279222263808?s=17)
Matthew Smith (@matthewfsmith) tweeted at 3:40 AM – 1 Sep 2017 :
#Myanmar Army and local armed-residents committed mass killings, beheadings of #Rohingya: @FortifyRights https://t.co/0QUu2YdxFt (http://twitter.com/matthewfsmith/status/903553188703354880?s=17)
This ethnic cleansing in Asia is the most brutal world has seen in years. NEEDED: direct pressure on Burmese army https://t.co/BbXvvuIDUw
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/sarahmargon/status/909230080848691200
The New York Times (@nytimes) tweeted at 9:42 AM – 16 Sep 2017 :
Bangladesh plans to build a refugee camp to house about 400,000 Rohingya who have fled Myanmar https://t.co/CF35GDtJ4i (http://twitter.com/nytimes/status/909079955140726784?s=17)
while taking in OluTimehin‘s ted.. see this tweet
Robert Bank (@robertevanbank) tweeted at 2:14 PM on Mon, Sep 18, 2017:
The #Rohingya refugee population grows while Myanmar’s army continues to force people out. Heartbreaking https://t.co/jJVIbDXNk4
Oz Katerji (@OzKaterji) tweeted at 6:32 AM – 19 Sep 2017 :
There is an ongoing genocide in Rakhine State. Australia’s response is to send people back into the firing line. https://t.co/LouwAfIRDV (http://twitter.com/OzKaterji/status/910119388640108544?s=17)
Democracy Now! (@democracynow) tweeted at 6:39 AM – 20 Sep 2017 :
Streaming at https://t.co/Xup8cdtnFB: @AzeemIbrahim says the Rohingya are facing “textbook ethnic cleansing on a massive industrial scale” https://t.co/QM1ieU3LtA (http://twitter.com/democracynow/status/910483577502093313?s=17)
Hasan Patel (@Hasanpatel) tweeted at 5:10 AM – 21 Sep 2017 :
Looking forward to @AJStream, well because they’ve given me a chance to appear to talk about @AJEnglish coverage on #RohingyaCrisis https://t.co/Na2gTKMPF5 (http://twitter.com/Hasanpatel/status/910823652853145602?s=17)
Peter Bouckaert (@bouckap) tweeted at 3:57 AM – 22 Sep 2017 :
Some of horrors we hear from atrocities in #Burma #Rohingya crisis so terrible my notebook is stained w tears. Just shocking. https://t.co/DPr7EhJNeB (http://twitter.com/bouckap/status/911167566084796416?s=17)
Poppy McPherson (@poppymcp) tweeted at 12:45 AM – 22 Sep 2017 :
“I felt I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.” @AFP journos describe what it is like to cover #Rohingya crisis. https://t.co/Ef7joFUu6J (http://twitter.com/poppymcp/status/911119179482202112?s=17)
Peter Bouckaert (@bouckap) tweeted at 3:58 AM – 22 Sep 2017
حسينة (27 عاما) لاجئة من الروهينغا أخبرت @hrw_ar عن قتل قوات #بورما عشرات السكان الهاربين من قريتها في 30 أغسطس https://t.co/B5yCOcsY5Z(http://twitter.com/bouckap/status/911167933476429824?s=17)
Peter Bouckaert (@bouckap) tweeted at 4:00 AM – 22 Sep 2017 :
Fellow #Rohingya helping new arrived #refugees because UN is not meeting their needs, @unhcr. Greater humanitarian response needed. https://t.co/nkP9fNboFC (http://twitter.com/bouckap/status/911168326369464320?s=17)
Noor Al Hussein (@QueenNoor) tweeted at 5:09 AM – 27 Sep 2017 :
Amid genocide allegations, Israel mum on halting arms sales to Myanmar https://t.co/Vu7SAsfUVe via @timesofisrael (http://twitter.com/QueenNoor/status/912997645861494786?s=17)
Noor Al Hussein (@QueenNoor) tweeted at 5:23 AM – 27 Sep 2017 :
https://t.co/vjxxEgmznE tragic #Holocaust victims must be turning in their graves. Where is conscience of the survivors?#RohingyaGenocide (http://twitter.com/QueenNoor/status/913001195870007297?s=17)
Peter Bouckaert (@bouckap) tweeted at 7:01 AM – 29 Sep 2017 :
In Grim Camps, Rohingya Suffer on ‘Scale That We Couldn’t Imagine’ via @NYTimes https://t.co/dUcSLPLUP0(http://twitter.com/bouckap/status/913750492966158343?s=17)
艾未未 Ai Weiwei (@aiww) tweeted at 5:26 AM – 8 Oct 2017 :
The Rohingya Are the New Palestinians | Foreign Policy https://t.co/eDqHSdBVLY (http://twitter.com/aiww/status/916988233912848384?s=17)
#Rohingya refugees share stories of sexual violence @AJEnglish https://t.co/RCR7LDhPJo #sexualviolence
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/lawatmargins/status/918294452925620224
via @bouckap rt
Wa Lone (@walone4) tweeted at 4:17 AM – 12 Oct 2017 :
Myanmar army chief says Rohingya Muslims “not natives”, numbers fleeing exaggerated https://t.co/qc7bH400Km(http://twitter.com/walone4/status/918420313779535872?s=17)
Melissa Fleming (@melissarfleming) tweeted at 3:58 PM on Sun, Oct 15, 2017:
Photos the whole world should see to understand the anguish and suffering of the Rohingya refugees. https://t.co/OT0VUHA6Tf via @IBTimesUK
Larry Ferlazzo (@Larryferlazzo) tweeted at 6:08 AM – 4 Nov 2017 :
New Interactive Map Of What Will Soon Be Largest Refugee Camp In The World https://t.co/EJPRL2yO2P (http://twitter.com/Larryferlazzo/status/926783123303444481?s=17)
A refugee camp in Bangladesh for Rohingya Muslims will soon be the largest one in the world, and the AFP press service has released an impressive interactive map of the area.
The UN expresses concern that Rohingya children are at risk of trafficking and abuse in many Bangladesh camps https://t.co/FOkq95kf0e
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/trtworld/status/928864069267968000
Say “Rohingya” these people are in the midst of ethnic cleansing . AP: Rohingya methodically raped by Myanmar’s armed forces https://t.co/mxe4cSnSs0
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/MarkRuffalo/status/940235435850289152
Mike Zuckerman‘s fb share (dec 2017)
I’ve spent the last few weeks in Bangladesh trying to comprehend the largest humanitarian crisis outside of war zones right now. Over 600,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar and come here to Cox Bazaar in the last 3 months. No one has ever seen anything matching the scale, density and speed at which these mega refugee camps formed.
great opp Mike.. wish we could talk.. there is a means to facil that chaos.. set them free.. and to model how to set the rest of us truly free as well
Larry Ferlazzo (@Larryferlazzo) tweeted at 6:11 AM – 21 Dec 2017 :
The language of the persecuted minority Rohingya will be digitized https://t.co/aBl261APbx via @qz (http://twitter.com/Larryferlazzo/status/943831301454315520?s=17)
The decision to digitize the Rohingya language has been described by humantarians as “revolutionary.” But for Pandey, it’s Unicode’s mission that is revolutionary. “Scripts used by minority communities around the world, which would otherwise disappear, now have a chance to continue on.”
John Green (@johngreen) tweeted at 6:57 AM on Fri, Dec 22, 2017:
How the Rohingya Escaped is gutwrenching, vital multimedia journalism. Absolutely devastating. https://t.co/QdYXxJLIkp
Lotte Leicht (@LotteLeicht1) tweeted at 2:20 AM – 25 Jan 2018 :
#AungSanSuuKyi “has developed an arrogance of power … she basically is unwilling to listen to bad news, and I don’t want to be part of a whitewash.”
Bill Richardson quits #Myanmar advisory board on the #Rohingya crisis, and speaks out.
Mike Zuckerman fb share
This situation for the Rohingya is beyond complicated. Over 700,000 have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh since October and many are trying to figure out the future for this persecuted ethnic minority, do they stay in Bangladesh, do they go back to Myanmar or somewhere else (but where?).
The Rahkine state where they are from is closed off to journalists and UN investigators, but they can’t control access to see what is happening from space. Planet Labs imagery shows that between Jan 8 and Feb 19 that their former villages are being destroyed.
Nothing is invisible today. #onthemap
feb 2018 – Burmese Government Demolishes Rohingya Villages
Grey Cross Studios (@GreyCrossStudio) tweeted at 6:02 PM – 3 Apr 2018 :
Monsoons could result in ‘enormous deaths’ among Rohingya refugees
#refugees #Rohingya #Monsoon #floods #Bangladesh @aiww (http://twitter.com/GreyCrossStudio/status/981321138180706304?s=17)
Harrowing accounts of Myanmar’s atrocities against the Rohingya have been sent to the ICC, including reports of a 10-year-old girl being repeatedly gang raped, men being doused in petrol and set alight, and women being tied to trees and raped ‘for days’ https://t.co/ilEYH063Ky Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/DanielWickham93/status/1010637879675154438
Deeyah Khan (@Deeyah_Khan) tweeted at 5:28 AM – 8 Jul 2018 :
10 months on from ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, Rohingya women begin giving birth to children of rape https://t.co/2u9db5QnRg (http://twitter.com/Deeyah_Khan/status/1015920571782189057?s=17)