Myanmar’s Humanitarian Crisis


Bella Trimmer, Staff Writer

The world is currently witnessing a government-sanctioned humanitarian crisis unfold in the Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). More than 370,000 Rohingya have fled to the Myanmar-Bangladesh border to escape persecution. While the average uninformed citizen have never even heard of the Rohingya people before, they are considered ‘the most persecuted minority in the world.’

According to CNN, the Rohingya are “a stateless Muslim minority in Myanmar’s Rakhine state thought to number about 1 million people.” Myanmar, however, does not recognize them as official citizens, rather as illegal immigrants. The Myanmar government has taken every possible step to dehumanize and disenfranchise these people, and the world has watched on in silence.

Rohingya refugees pouring into Bangladesh have given terrifying testimonies. Their reports of massacring entire villages and burning them to the ground coupled with satellite imagery (captured by Amnesty International, a human rights organization) insinuating a “scorched earth policy” being carried out by the nation’s military should be a giant red flag. The U.N. has called the situation in Myanmar “a textbook case of ethnic cleansing.”

Aung San Suu Kyi disagrees. According to BBC, “ Although the Myanmar constitution forbids her from becoming president because she has children who are foreign nationals, Ms. Suu Kyi is widely seen as de facto leader.” She is also a past recipient of the Nobel Peace prize, but considering her recent comments on the Rohingya situation, some are saying that she no longer deserves it. In an interview with BBC’s Fergal Keane, Suu Kyi states that she, “doesn’t believe there is ethnic cleansing going on.” It is situations like these that bring about the fall of icons.

According to CNN, 40% of Rohingya villages have emptied. More are arriving in Bangladesh every day. Unfortunately, the end to this violence is nowhere in sight.