What is happening to the Rohingya people in Myanmar?
An ethnic cleansing campaign since August 2017 has driven hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees out of Myanmar. The spotlight is on Myanmar this week as the country’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, appears before the UN International Court of Justice to address an accusation of genocide against the Rohingya.
Here’s a 30-second explanation of what’s going on:
The Rohingya are a minority Muslim group in Myanmar. More than 740,000 Rohingya refugees have fled the Rakhine State of Myanmar since August 2017, when a military-led ethnic cleansing campaign to remove the Rohingya Muslims began, according to Human Rights Watch.
“Most Rohingya remaining in Myanmar are interned in camps or confined to their villages, without access to basic services,” Hannah Beech and Saw Nang wrote in The New York Times on December 10.
The role of social media
In August 2018, Reuters found that Facebook did not adequately moderate both hate speech and calls for genocide of the Rohingya minority Muslim group in Myanmar.
Reuters uncovered thousands of Facebook posts attacking the Rohingya, including pornographic images. The Reuters investigation found these posts were still on Facebook months after the UN discovered hate speech on Facebook was being used to incite violence against the Rohingya people and after Mark Zuckerberg assured Congress that Facebook was working to fix the problem.
In fall 2019 …
September2019: A press release from the UN Human Rights Council read, “The 600,000 Rohingya remaining inside Myanmar face systematic persecution and live under the threat of genocide” according to a September 2019 report by the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar.
December 2019: The Human Rights Watch published a report that alleged that Rohingya children in Bangladesh are being denied education. Rohingya children are not permitted to attend local schools, and the Bangladesh government is neither providing schooling within refugee camps or allowing outside humanitarian organisations to provide schooling, according to the report.
Gambia filed a lawsuit against Myanmar in November accusing the country of genocide.
Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi is appearing before the UN International Court of Justice this week, December 10 through December 12, to address the accusation of genocide against the Rohingya, according to The New York Times.