Inside Story

Why are Rohingya refugees stranded in no-man’s land?

Thousands of ethnic Rohingya cross into neighbouring Bangladesh, but they are not welcome.

It is a humanitarian crisis that is growing continuously. A week after former UN chief Kofi Annan released a report with recommendations to end years of persecution of the Rohingya people, the situation in Rakhine state in Myanmar appears to be getting worse.

Women and children are among the tens of thousands of the Rohingya Muslim ethnic minority trying to get across the border into Bangladesh. But Bangladesh does not want them. Security is being tightened and many people are being turned away, leaving them stuck in no-man’s land.

The refugees tell of attacks by the Myanmar military, of Rohingya villagers being killed and their homes set on fire. But the Myanmar army says it has launched a security crackdown on a rebel group after coming under attacks.

The biggest obstacle to peace is Myanmar citizenship. The commission led by Annan says all restrictions on Rohingya should be lifted and describes them as the biggest single stateless community in the world.

But is the international community listening, and will it do anything about it?

Presenter: Hashem Ahelbarra


Phil Robertson – Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch, Asia

Kim Jolliffe – Independent consultant working with development and humanitarian organisations in Myanmar

Tun Khin – President, UK Burmese Rohingya Organisation