You have read about the Rohingya in Burma, and you want to know what is going on?
Read this 7 minutes report.
The Rohingya are a Muslim minority of appr. 800.000 people in West Burma, in Arakan state. In 1982 Burma instituted a new law, excluding the Rohingya from the list of 135 minorities. From that point, they have been stateless. This means that they do not have a right to education, work, travel etc. They need permission to get married and are only allowed 2 children. They are all branded as illegal immigrants. In a country where poverty and fear have ruled for decades, ‘illegal immigrants’ are easily scapegoated.
For years, the Rohingya faced violence against them, by the Burma army and by the local (Buddhist) Rakhine people in west Burma. At this moment around 140.000 Rohingya are displaced; they flee the violence, to the sea on small boats or to refugee camps. These camps lack sanitation , food, clean drinking water, basic health care or education. Media or humanitarian organizations hardly get access tot his area.
Oil, divide and rule
Rohingya face violence, rape, persecution, as they are not acknowledged as citizens of Burma. There is a discussion in Burma, whether or not the Rohingya lived in Burma centuries ago. This discussion is flamed by Buddhist Rakhine and the (local) Burma government. But there are other, underlying reasons for the discrimination and violence against the Muslim Rohingya. First is the succesful strategy of divide and rule by the Burma government. In a country where everyone faces cruel dictatorship, people get angry, desperate and divided, whilst the Burma army rules.Second is the current development of a deep sea port for oil tankers in Sittwe, the area where the Rohingya now live. Due to the ending of economic sanctions, Burma is now making deals with international oil companies. The Rohingya live in the middle of this economic important area.
The violence against the Rohingya minority has become so severe, that in June and October 2012 many fled their houses and got killed. The most worrying part is that this violence seems to be organised, by the local Rakhine community as well as by the Burma Security Forces. When people’s rights are taken and they’re killed, based on skin color, religion or ethnic background, it is called ethnic cleansing.
Most persecuted people
There are signs that more violence against the Rohingya is currently imminent. The Rohingya are described by the UN as the most persecuted people in the world. Head of the IHRC said: ‘there is a hidden genocide taking place in Burma.’
Besides of violence, also hunger and the lack of clean drinking water has become a real threat to the Rohingya people. There are more and more pictures of starving Rohingya children in the camps. In Burma the ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya is ongoing and it is happening now.
You hardly read about the Rohingya, as this area is difficult to access for the media. The Rohingya themselves lack access to the media by internet. They also don’t have camera’s or smartphones, to raise their voices.
Will you let this happen?
The world has state dit many times before: ‘We will not let this happen’. But my question is, will you let this happen? Sure you won’t!
What can you do?
Firstly, stay updated with the news about the Rohingya. Then you’ll know what is going on. Follow #rohingya on twitter, or @humanrightmedia, or stay tuned with our website. We’ll keep you updated. Secondly, spread the story. Let others know what is going on. Thirdly, help Human Rights Media. We want to get video camera’s to the Rohingya, so they can raise their own voices and stop the violence.
If you won’t let this happen, please contact us at: email@example.com