B1 Intermediate US 364 Folder Collection
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There are thousands of refugees entering Bangladesh every day. They cross the
border of Myanmar where the state military has launched a violent
offensive against an ethnic minority group – the Rohingya. The UN reported
that since August 2017 about 400,000 Rohingya men women and children have
fled their homes in Myanmar's Rakhine State. Reports claimed that the military
has been killing and raping the Rohingya and has set their villages on fire.
Satellite imagery showing burned villages confirms those reports.
Because Myanmar has refused access to human rights investigators, the current
situation cannot yet be fully assessed but the situation remains or seems a
textbook example of ethnic cleansing. The term ethnic cleansing has
been reserved for some of the worst atrocities in history. The UN defines it
as a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by
violent and terror inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or
religious group from certain geographic areas.
What makes Myanmar a textbook example is that the military has been launching
attacks on the Rohingya – a Muslim minority in a majority Buddhist country.
Violent tactics have forced tens of thousands of Rohingya to flee their
homes. While many fled to Malaysia and Thailand most ended up in Bangladesh.
The recent wave of violence is the latest in a pattern of discrimination that started
over 50 years ago. In 1962, Myanmar – then called Burma – was taken over by the
military in a coup. They got rid of the country's constitution and created a
military junta. Like many dictatorships they promoted fierce nationalism based
on the country's Buddhist identity and when they needed a common enemy to help
unite the population the Rohingya were singled out as a threat. Tensions between
the Burmese Buddhist population and the Rohingya go back to the Second World War
when each group supported opposing sides. The Rohingya sided with the British
colonialists who ruled the country and the Buddhists mostly sided with the
Japanese invaders hoping they'd help end the British rule after the war. But even
in modern Myanmar the Rohingya minority continued to be an easy target.
Although their lineage can be traced back to 15th century Burma, the
government has been forcing them out claiming their illegal immigrants from
Bangladesh. It started in 1978 after a massive
crackdown called Operation Dragon King forced about 200,000 Rohingya to flee to
Bangladesh. The military reportedly used violence and rape to drive them out.
About a hundred and seventy thousand Rohingya reportedly returned to Burma. Then
in 1982, the government passed the Citizenship Act recognizing 135 ethnic
groups. The Rohingya, with a population of about 1 million, were not on the list
and became a stateless people. In 1991, Myanmar's military launched another
campaign literally called "Operation clean and beautiful nation." This time
about 250,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh. Tensions continued to build
against the Rohingya in the 2000s. Violence broke out in 2012
when four Muslim men were accused of raping and killing a buddhist woman in
Rakhine. Buddhist nationalist backed by security forces attacked Muslim
neighborhoods, burned homes displacing tens of thousands of Rohingya again.
Human Rights Watch deemed it an ethnic cleansing campaign. By this point the
Rohingya were persecuted disenfranchised and stateless. In 2016, a
Rohingya militant group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, emerged and
coordinated small-scale attacks on border police stations. An attack on
August 25th 2017 left 12 police officers dead and sparked the current crisis
against Rohingya civilians. A brutal retaliation by the state security forces
has led to about 400 deaths and the mass exodus of about 400,000 Rohingya to
Bangladesh. Since the August attack 210 villages have been burned to the ground.
The violent campaign has triggered the fastest growing humanitarian crisis in
recent years, but Myanmar's de facto leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner
Aung San Suu Ky has barely acknowledged the attacks.
More than 50% of the villages of Muslims are intact they are as they were before
the attacks took place. When she says that, you know, 50% of the Muslim villages
are still present in Rakhine State wel,l I mean, what are we talking about? 50% are
gone. 50% are burnt out. You know in any school
I went to 50% is a failing grade. Recent reports claimed that the military has
planted landmines along the Bangladesh border to prevent the Rohingya from
returning. Myanmar's government has systematically
driven the Rohingya out of the country. Over the last five decades it has
stripped their citizenship, terrorized them, and destroyed their homes, and now
it wants to keep them from ever coming back.
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The "ethnic cleansing" of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims, explained

364 Folder Collection
osmend published on October 1, 2017
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