Separating Fact from Fiction about Myanmar’s Rohingya

Separating Fact from Fiction about Myanmar’s Rohingya

Gregory B. Poling

Written By  Gregory B. Poling 

Director, Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, and Fellow, Southeast Asia Program

February 13, 2014

Rakhine State in western Myanmar has been the site of repeated outbreaks of violence between the Buddhists majority and its Muslim Rohingya minority, most recently on January 13. The details of what happened remain unclear, but it seems that dozens were killed. This follows widespread violence in 2012 that left more than 200 dead and 140,000 displaced.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says it has credible evidence that at least 48 Rohingya were killed on January 13 during an attack by their Buddhist Rakhine neighbors and security forces. The non-governmental organization Doctors Without Borders said its personnel treated 22 Rohingya who were wounded during the attack. The government of Myanmar has denied any large-scale violence occurred, insists only one policeman died, and has refused calls for an international investigation.

All the details might never become known, but the incident in Du Chee Yar Tan, and the government’s angry and dismissive reaction, have refocused international attention on the larger plight of the Rohingya. Strangers in their own country, they are disenfranchised, discriminated against, and subject to unpredictable cycles of violence. Many in Myanmar, including prominent Buddhist monks and political leaders among the Buddhist Rakhine ethnic group, demand that they be driven from Myanmar by any means necessary.

Rohingya have few defenders within Myanmar, with hatred of them seeming to be one of the few issues that can bridge the country’s political divide. Any public figure who stands up for them can expect to be persona non grata. The narrative of the Rohingya has been overtaken by fiction, with their place in Myanmar’s history expunged by a succession of military governments looking for scapegoats and aided by the country’s already strong sense of Buddhist nationalism.

Q1: Who are the Rohingya?

 A1: The Rohingya are a Muslim minority living in Myanmar’s Rakhine State and adjacent areas of neighboring Bangladesh. They are not recognized by the Myanmar government as an official ethnic group and are denied citizenship. Their population within Myanmar has been estimated at roughly 800,000. Most of this population lives in the townships of Maungdaw and Buthidaung, where Rohingya are the majority, as well as in neighboring towns and the state capital, Sittwe.

Myanmar’s government claims that the Rohingya are not eligible for citizenship under the country’s military-drafted 1982 Citizenship Law. That document defines full citizens as members of ethnic groups that had permanently settled within the boundaries of modern-day Myanmar prior to 1823, the year before the first Anglo-Burman War. The government of General Ne Win drew up a list of the 135 ethnic groups that supposedly meet this requirement. That list is still in use by Myanmar’s current civilian government.

The British colonial government encouraged immigration to Myanmar from modern-day India and Bangladesh. This is a source of continued resentment within Myanmar, which is why 1823 was used as a cut-off for citizenship. The dominant narrative within the country is that the term “Rohingya” is a recent invention, and those who claim to belong to the group are actually the descendants of these colonial-era immigrants from Bangladesh.

But this narrative is demonstrably false. In 1799, Francis Buchanan, a surgeon with the British East India Company, traveled to Myanmar and met members of a Muslim ethnic group “who have long settled in Arakan [Rakhine], and who call themselves Rooinga, or natives of Arakan.” That would indicate there were self-identified Rohingya living in Rakhine at least 25 years before the 1823 cut-off for citizenship.

Even if the name “Rohingya” is too taboo to be accepted inside Myanmar, the historical record is clear that the ethnic group itself has existed in Arakan, or Rakhine State, for centuries. A significant Muslim population lived in the independent Kingdom of Mrauk-U that ruled modern-day Rakhine State from the mid-fifteenth to late eighteenth centuries. Many of the Buddhist kings of Mrauk-U even took Muslim honorifics. The evidence suggests that this community is the origin of today’s Rohingya. The group likely assimilated later waves of immigrants from Bangladesh during and after British rule, but it did not begin with them. Read more ›

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Bangladesh Launches Deadly Drug Crackdown as Rohingya Crisis Fuels Smuggling

Bangladesh Launches Deadly Drug Crackdown as Rohingya Crisis Fuels Smuggling

Some 13,000 people are detained and more than 100 killed in police raids since mid-May

Prisoners are transported to court in Dhaka. Since mid-May, police in Bangladesh have arrested 13,000 people and killed more than 100 in raids as they crack down on drugs. Photo: Yousuf Tushar for The Wall Street Journal

By Jon Emont and  Muktadir Rashid – June 17, 2018 8:00 a.m. ET

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Hundreds of police officers toting carbines swarmed a gritty Dhaka slum recently, overturning beds in homes, riffling through the wallets and bags of cafe patrons and eventually shoving 50 suspected drug users into the back of police vans.

It was a regular night in a new crackdown on drugs in Bangladesh, marked by an aggressive campaign since mid-May in which police have arrested some 13,000 people and killed more than 100 in raids, according to the government.

Odhikar, a Bangladeshi human rights group, accused the security forces of carrying out 149 extrajudicial killings in May, most of them in connection with the drug crackdown, compared with an average of less than 20 a month in the first four months of the year, according to its statistics.

Related : ‘We’ll Turn Your Village Into Soil’: Survivors Recount One of Myanmar’s Biggest Massacres

Rohingya Refugees Driven From Myanmar Meet Hostility in Bangladesh

Myanmar Blocks Rohingya Return With Fence, Barbed Wire and Land Mines

 Hasanul Haq Inu, Bangladesh’s minister of information, said that the expanded campaign was necessary to disrupt drug distribution networks, and that the killings involved situations where armed drug criminals shot at police.

The antidrug campaign stems from an influx of a cheap methamphetamine concoction known as yaba finding its way into Bangladesh, fed in large part by the turmoil since some 700,000 Rohingya were driven from their homes in Myanmar by the military last August into Bangladesh, according to Bangladeshi police.

Yaba is mainly produced in lawless regions of northern Myanmar, where rebel militias that rely on drug revenue have long held sway and fed markets in Thailand and Cambodia. But the security breakdown in western Myanmar since the Rohingya, a persecuted Muslim minority in the Buddhist-majority country, were expelled last year is giving the traffickers an expanded opportunity, Bangladeshi police say.

“Only Myanmar is pushing yaba,” said Jamil Hasan, deputy commissioner of the detective branch of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, observing as police pushed suspected yaba users into vans during a roundup. Though the United Nations antinarcotics agency has said that Myanmar and Bangladesh could foil trafficking networks if their border police worked together, Hasanul Haq Inu, Bangladesh’s minister of information, said the Rohingya crisis had created tensions that made coordinating the forces difficult.

“Cooperation in stopping the yaba trade is a little bit cumbersome and slow,” Mr. Inu said. His government has repeatedly asked Myanmar’s authorities to shut down yaba labs. Read more ›

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17 June 2018

Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM) & Ketua Rohingya Malaysia MRM welcome the move by the Malaysian government to work with Turkish government to help refugees. We thank both governments for their continuous support for Rohingya refugees in Malaysia, Cox’s Bazar and inside Myanmar. We truly appreciate the effort of both countries to support refugees.

Although some refugees came to Malaysia due to economic reason but Rohingya left our country due to continuous persecution by Myanmar government. The Rohingya faced Slow Burning Genocide in Myanmar for the past 7 decades. Now Rohingya is facing the last phase of Genocide.

We urge the World Leaders to come together to Stop Rohingya Genocide before all Rohingya disappear from Myanmar. We must learn from Rwanda Genocide. Delay action caused thousands of innocent people died. We must not allowed another Genocide to continue in this century. Rwanda Genocide is the worst in the world history but Rohingya Genocide is even worst.

We hope there is still future for our generation especially in this month of Syawal. We urge the World Leaders to support the initiative to refer Myanmar to the International Criminal Court. The Myanmar government and the military officials must be held accountable for committing Genocide against Rohingya.

Thank you,


Zafar Ahmad Abdul Ghani.

President of Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM)

& Ketua Rohingya Malaysia MRM


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Eid Greeting – Eid Mubarak from

              Eid Greeting – Eid Mubarak from


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EIDDUL FITR GREETING 2018 – This Video is shared by Br. Dr Mohamed Ali, UAE

 EIDDUL FITR GREETING 2018  wishes A Happy Eidul Fitr to all our readers, contributors, supporters, well wishers, and all Rohingya brothers and sisters. Please visit our website for Rohingyas Genocide Documents as far as we have collected for your need.


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Monsoons wreak havoc in Rohingya refugee camps

Monsoons wreak havoc in Rohingya refugee camps

LACHLAN FORSYTH FOR UNICEF – Last updated 21:58, June 14 2018

Watch: Monsoon season is set to slam Rohingya refugees – 

Many live in flimsy little shacks that cling to hills with just blue tarpaulin to protect them from the wind and rain in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

This article was supplied as part of Stuff’s partnership with Unicef NZ.

Having escaped persecution in Myanmar, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are now at risk from the wild storms hammering the region. This week a three-year-old boy became the first casualty of Bangladesh’s monsoon season, as torrential rains caused chaos in the crowded camps of Cox’s Bazar, where almost a million Rohingya have found refuge.

Rohingya refugee children wade through flood waters surrounding their families’ shelters following an intense pre-monsoon wind and rain storm in Shamlapur Makeshift Settlement, Cox’s Bazar district, Bangladesh on May 20, 2018. Brian Sokol/UNICEF

The young boy was crushed in his sleep, and his mother badly injured, when a mud wall collapsed onto his family’s shelter. Another two people have since been killed. They were all among the hundreds of thousands of families who had escaped murder, rape, and violence in Myanmar, to seek safety across the border in Bangladesh.

READ MORE :  Rohingya refugee crisis: the children’s emergency

For weeks, tens of thousands of refugee families have been preparing for the monsoons, securing their shacks, digging new latrines, carving out channels for the inevitable torrents, and relocating to higher ground.

Roger LeMoyne /UNICEF

Rohingya refugee children struggle with the mud collecting on a retaining wall during the first days of monsoon rain in Kutupalong Camp, Cox’s Bazar. Much of the infrastructure of the camps is eroding as the rain falls. Deforestation has left the sandy ground unstable. Since an outbreak of violence began on 25 August 2017, approximately two thirds of a million Rohingya people have sought refuge in neighboring Bangladesh. More than half of them are children. UNICEF and partners are working to provide for the needs of this enormous refugee population who are all the more vulnerable during the rainy season. During the monsoon season, which lasts from June to September, the overall health and wellbeing of Rohingya refugee children is affected. Increase risk of infectious disease, poor water and sanitation hygiene, and injury impact children whose immune systems are already weakened by acute malnutrition. In May 2018, UNICEF estimated that more than 100,000 people, including approximately 55,000 children, are at risk due to floods and landslides. It?s possible that this figure could go up to 200,000 people depending on the intensity of rains.

“Lots of people moved very quickly,” said Martin Worth, Unicef’s head of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. “Now they are living in flimsy little shacks that are clinging to hills with just blue tarpaulin to protect them from the wind and rain. The conditions are crowded. The potential for disease outbreak is really high. I’m very worried.”

“This is going to be a challenge,” he says. “We have a refugee situation but with cyclone season coming we could also have a natural disaster on our hands. We are doing everything in our power to be prepared and able to respond.”

On June 5 2018 in Bangladesh, a boy carries bricks from his old shelter to a new camp. Roger Lemoyne/UNICEF

The makeshift cities of Cox’s Bazar stretch for kilometres – every hill and valley crowded with crude, hand-built shelters. Even those perched on the higher ground aren’t safe, with the torrential rains regularly causing hillsides to slip away, taking homes, belongings, and people with them.

Throughout the sprawling settlements, homemade tents cling precariously to the muddy hillsides, and crowd the muddier gullies.

Roger LeMoyne/UNICEF

The first powerful monsoon rain drenches Shamlapur Rohingya refugee camp. As the camp is located close to the shoreline of the Bay of Bengal, it is one of the most vulnerable to flooding.  Even those homes perched on the higher ground aren’t safe, with the torrential rains regularly causing hillsides to slip away, taking homes, belongings, and people with them. Read more ›

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Rohingya refugee crisis: the children’s emergency

Rohingya refugee crisis: the children’s emergency

A Rohingya refugee boy waits for aid in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, September 20, 2017. Cathal Mcnaughton/reuters

Cox’s Bazar, September 20, 2017.

Just under a month ago desperate refugees from the Myanmar state of Rakhine started surging across the border into neighbouring Bangladesh. They arrived in droves – fleeing extreme violence, and deeply traumatised.

The population of these Rohingya refugees now living in Bangladesh – one of Asia’s poorest nations – has doubled in these few weeks from around 400,000 to more than 800,000.

Flooding has made the situation worse for refugees. – UNICEF

The result are scenes impossible to fathom from the comfort of a living room in New Zealand. It’s even impossible to fathom when right in the midst of it. The scale of human suffering is more immense than words can describe. And well over half of all the newly arrived refugees here are children. Children and their despairing parents. Hearing what they have suffered and continue to suffer, compels me to plead with the world to pay attention to this crisis, and make sure these children are not forgotten.

Myanmar leader breaks silence over Rohingya crisis
NZ’s Rohingya determined to support fleeing families
Refugee crisis is worsening by the day

18-month-old Shahida is one of them. When we met her mother, Shamseda, and her father, Ayob, they’d been awake for 24 hours. They’d not eaten – they were famished and utterly exhausted.

A Rohingya refugee boy jostles for aid in Cox’s Bazar. – Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

A few days earlier they’d made their temporary home on a patch of swampland separated from the main road to Kutapalong Refugee camp, by a dangerous river. Rohingya refugees, desperate to find a place to sleep, had built a perilous bamboo bridge over this fast moving river and were crossing it several times a day in search of urgently needed aid. Read more ›

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Rape by Command
Pre-planned Expulsion
Witness to horror
The Rohingyas

The cover of the Rohingya; A short account of their history and culture