Rohingya Muslims — Crisis : What is going on with them in Myanmar

Rohingya Muslim’s issue has been a lot in the news where Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi was criticized heavily for her silence in international media. To understand deeply the issue, first, have an understanding of the Rohingya People.

Who are Rohingya People?

Rohingya people are people from Myanmar’s Rakhine State. Internationally Rohingya seems a synonym of being Muslim, while Rohingya people have three religious backgrounds. The majority of the population belongs to Muslims. Hindus and Buddhist are in Minorities. The crisis caused worries in the other communities as well to flee and save their lives due to violent incidents.

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Some militants of Rohingya communities were also firing bullets at Hindus and Buddhists.

Rohingya Muslims as per historical sources came to the Rohingya region in the fifteenth century and some in the nineteenth and twentieth century as well. However, earlier the region was under British control. After independence in 1948, the successive governments have refuted the claims of ethnicity.

Rohingyas are considered illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Photo by Ahmed akacha from Pexels

Politically, the government refused to grant them citizenship, and without any legal documentation- they are stateless.

Rohingyas have only temporary resident cards.

In 2014, the UN-backed the national census and initially permitted to identify as Rohingya, but Buddhist nationalist threatened to boycott the census, therefore the newly formed government of Myanmar decided to let Rohingya register as Bengali

Similar Pressure from Buddhist National came again in 2015 where they protest against Rohingya’s right to vote.

The government even forced Rohingyas to carry –‘ National Verification Cards that recognize them a foreigner, not the citizen.

Rohingya must seek permission to get married, which again brings the loop of bribe and exploitation, and to move and to travel- they need government approval. They are even allowed to have only two children.

The clash of August 2017

A militant group of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army known as ARSA claimed responsibility of the attack on the Army and Police.

The government declared ARSA as a terrorist organization and the military launched a brutal campaign against them which ended up in destroying hundreds of Rohingya villages and forced them to flee from the Rohingya Region.

Myanmar Security forces were also alleged to open fire on fleeing citizens near the border crossing.

United Nations and the entire world criticized the government and that attracted controversy against the Aung San Suu Kyi as well.

In 2018, after criticism, the government said that all military operations were against ARSA attach and Rohingya villages and farmlands have been cleared to build homes, security bases, and infrastructure.

It was assured by the government that the preparation is for the repatriation of refugees.

In 2019, the UN fact-finding report also published that the situation in Myanmar for Rohingya has bot improved.

International Criticism Vs. Myanmar’s Government

International media has some satellite images of villages being burnt where Rohingya Muslims reside. There were some viral videos of Myanmar’s army beating Rohingya Muslims. However, when asked by Myanmar’s Government, the government responded that there had been acts of terrorism in the country like attacking on Police stations.

  • The Myanmar government launched a military campaign in 2017 that forced seven hundred thousand Rohingya to flee. Rights groups suspect the government has committed genocide against the Rohingya, but officials deny the accusations.

Government is still on the way of registering the population of Myanmar. Aung San Suu Kyi responded that there were certain fake photos in circulation so was the fake news.

What is the issue?

Myanmar has suffered the violence, and Suu Kyi has been blamed because it is the leader who has to take responsibility for anything negative which happens in the country. However, there are multiple issues related to the violence-

1- Religious extremism

2- Political Transition

3- Military Control

4- Internal Problems

5- As international media states- Aung San Suu Kyi’s silence.

1. Religious Extremism- People are scared to speak when it comes to religious extremism. The truth is sometimes not spoken because it may offend a major portion of the crowd. Too many orthodox people always clash- that is why the concept of the liberals took birth.

2. Political Transition- Myanmar is an infant democracy. It has been under army rules for decades. The new country faces various challenges and political stability takes its time in evolution.

3. Military Control — Due to political efforts, the hard-won partial democracy has arrived in which military fills 25% place of the Parliament as well as it controls the matter such as defense and communication.

4. Internal Problems- The country has problems like electricity supply, infrastructure, and other facilities. This may be the reason for the government to be stuck in such an issue while the Rohingya issue stays at arm’s length.

5. Silence of Aung San Su Kyi- She has been an advocate of human rights. She played a major role in Myanmar’s Politics and played a crucial role in turning Myanmar democracy. Her silence about the Rohingya issue has been criticized widely.

Criticizing Aung San Suu Kyi does not lead to any solution. Though, no doubt it had been appreciated if she had spoken loud about it. However, it is human nature that sometimes leaders also get silent about certain things.

The major emphasis should be on restricting the Army from creating such havoc. As well as helping the government in handling issues like terrorism.

in 2020, a military coup happened which seized the power under its hand and detained the political leaders again, which is again a piece of terrible news for the people of Rakhine state.

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