TIMELINE: Two years on, a look at the Rohingya crisis
Reuters > Published: 23 Aug 2019 05:00 PM BdST Updated: 23 Aug 2019 05:00 PM BdST
This month marks the second anniversary of the fleeing of more than 730,000 Rohingya from Myanmar’s northwest Rakhine State to Bangladesh after a military-led crackdown in response to an attack by Muslim militants on Myanmar police posts.
Here is a timeline of key events in the crisis:
Aug 25, 2017 – Muslim insurgents calling themselves the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) launch an assault on 30 Myanmar police posts and an army base in the north of Rakhine State, in which nearly 80 insurgents and 12 members of the security forces are killed.
Aug 26, 2017 – As fighting spreads between the army and ARSA, thousands of Rohingya flee to Bangladesh. Some 3,000 Rohingya cross the Naf border river, says a Bangladeshi border guard commander.
Sept 2, 2017 – More than 2,600 houses are razed in Rohingya-majority areas of northwest Myanmar in the week following the Aug 25 attack, the government says.
Sept 11, 2017 – The UN human rights high commissioner calls the military operation in Rakhine “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”, citing satellite imagery and accounts of extrajudicial killings.
Sept 19, 2017 – In a televised speech, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi vows to punish the perpetrators of human rights violations in Rakhine, but does not address UN accusations of ethnic cleansing by the military.
Oct 10, 2017 – Suu Kyi holds inter-faith prayers at a Yangon stadium. On the same day, Bangladesh border guards report more than 11,000 Rohingya refugees crossing into their country, in a sudden surge, according to the UN refugee agency.
Oct 12, 2017 – Rohingya Muslims are not natives of Myanmar, says the army commander-in-chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, during a meeting with US ambassador Scot Marciel.
Oct 13, 2017 – An investigation begins into the conduct of soldiers during the counteroffensive that sent Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh, the office of Myanmar’s army commander-in-chief says.
Nov 2, 2017 – Suu Kyi urges people “not to quarrel” on her first visit to Rakhine since the military crackdown.
Nov 27-Dec. 2, 2017 – Pope Francis visits Myanmar and Bangladesh, avoiding the word “Rohingya”, which is rejected by Myanmar, until meeting refugees in Bangladesh.
Dec 13, 2017 – Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are arrested after police invited them to a Yangon restaurant.
At the time, they were working on an investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslims in Inn Din village in Rakhine.
Dec 18, 2017 – The Myanmar military releases a statement saying it found unidentified bodies in a mass grave in Inn Din.
Dec 21, 2017 – The United States imposes sanctions on 13 “serious human rights abusers and corrupt actors” including the general who oversaw the crackdown against the Rohingya Muslims.
Jan 10, 2018 – Pre-trial hearings begin in the Reuters case, with prosecutors seeking charges under the Official Secrets Act, which carries a maximum penalty sentence of 14 years.
On the same day, the military says its soldiers murdered 10 captured Muslims in Inn Din during insurgent attacks, whose bodies were those discovered in the mass grave.
Feb 23, 2018 – Myanmar has bulldozed at least 55 Rohingya villages that were emptied during last year’s violence, Human Rights Watch says, citing a review of satellite imagery.
March 12, 2018 – Myanmar’s military is building bases where some Rohingya homes and mosques once stood, Amnesty International says.
April 11, 2018 – Seven Myanmar soldiers are sentenced to 10 years of hard labour for participating in the Inn Din massacre of 10 Rohingya Muslims.
July 30, 2018 – Myanmar establishes a commission to investigate allegations of human rights abuses in Rakhine.
Sept 3, 2018 – The two Reuters journalists are found guilty and jailed for 7 years.
Sept 13, 2018 – Suu Kyi says in hindsight her government could have handled the situation in Rakhine better, at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Hanoi.
Nov 15, 2018 – A Rohingya repatriation effort stalls amid protests at refugee camps. No one wanted to return, said a source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Jan 4, 2019 – The Rakhine nationalist Arakan Army insurgent group kills 13 policemen and wounds nine in attacks on four police posts as Myanmar marks Independence Day, setting off more conflict in the region.
March 18, 2019 – Myanmar’s army says it has set up a military court to investigate its conduct during the 2017 crackdown.
May 7, 2019 – The two Reuters journalists are freed under a presidential amnesty.
May 27, 2019 – A military spokesman says Myanmar has granted early release to seven soldiers jailed for the Inn Din killings.
June 22, 2019 – Myanmar authorities order telecoms companies to shut down internet services in the conflict-torn west, operator Telenor Group says, where government troops are fighting Arakan Army rebels.
Aug 20, 2019 – The UN refugee agency and Bangladesh authorities launch a new repatriation bid, starting consultations with more than 3,000 Rohingya refugees to determine if any want to go home, officials said.