How Myanmar expelled the majority of its Rohingya

After the recent exodus of Rohingya, Bangladesh now hosts more Rohingya than Myanmar.

Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]

The Rohingya people in Myanmar have faced persecution at the hands of the Myanmar military for decades, and the ongoing crisis has displaced hundreds of thousands of Rohingya.

Today, the total population of Rohingya in Bangladesh is estimated to be around 900,000, more than the 500,000 to 700,000 Rohingya believed to be remaining in Myanmar. The United Nations has called the actions of Myanmar military “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

infographic rohingya bangladesh refugees

In 1982, Rohingya were not recognized as one of the 135 official ethnic groups in Myanmar and were barred from citizenship and basic human rights. Since then, a number of crackdowns on the Rohingya in Rakhine State have forced hundreds of thousands to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh, as well as other countries in Southeast Asia.

According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 300,000 Rohingya arrived in Bangladesh in the 1990s. Violent clashes in the Rakhine State continued in 2012 and 2015, displacing more Rohingya.

In October 2016, following an attack on the Myanmar border police, the military started a security crackdown on Rohingya, blaming them for the rebellion. This sent about 87,000 Rohingya to rush to Bangladesh for refuge.

The last military crackdown started on Aug 25, 2017, when an armed Rohingya group attacked military posts in Rakhine State. Since then, the Myanmar military is reported to have burned dozens of Rohingya villages and fired indiscriminately at unarmed men, women and children. The unprecedented crackdown has sent more than 480,000 Rohingya to flee Myanmar and seek refugee in refugee camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar. 

Source: Al Jazeera