The Rohingyas: A Year in Review


The Rohingya are the world’s most oppressed and largest stateless ethnic group. They have endured decades of repeated horrific attacks and violations of their human rights. Between 1978 and 1992, hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas sought asylum in Bangladesh; the majority of them were eventually sent back to Myanmar as a result of bilateral negotiations. The world community expected that this would not be repeated. This expectation however did not stop Myanmar to do this once again back in 2017. After enduring horrific torture and persecution at the hands of the Myanmar military, the Rohingya population in Myanmar’s Rakhine state was forced to seek refuge in Bangladesh on August 25, 2017. After this, UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra‘ad al-Hussein told the UN Human Rights Council that this is the most perfect ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing’ in Myanmar. The 2017 Rohingya persecution by Tatmadaw, which saw a major exodus of about 750,000 people, is very distinct from earlier state-sponsored cleansing initiatives. Five years have passed since the exodus, but not a single Rohingya has been returned to Myanmar. While this remained a global concern, on the morning of 1 February 2021, democratically elected members of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the country’s ruling party, were overthrown by the Tatmadaw, signaling the start of a coup d’état in Myanmar. This has added more complexity to the plights of the persecuted Rohingyas living in Bangladesh.

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