23November2017

Home Editorial ROHINGYAS’ SUFFFERING, UNTIL WHEN?

ROHINGYAS’ SUFFFERING, UNTIL WHEN?

More than 400 thousand Rohingyas have been in the camps in Bangladesh. The refugees are forced to leave the country that has been their home for so long. Myanmar, which has  just  experienced  democracy, must face  a horizontal conflict problem between the Buddhist majority and the minority of South Asian descent who are Muslim. Although it is denied that it has something  to do with  religious differences, yet what might be called as a  persecution has occurred.

Meanwhile, since early this week nearly 300,000 people had fled from the state of Rakhine in Myanmar and arrived in neighboring Bangladesh. According to a report by the United Nations Refugee Agency (United Nations High Commissioner on Refugee-UNHCR), on Monday (11/9), the number rose rapidly compared to those  entered the country in the previous day which was  only 4 thousands people. With a refugee population of 700,000 people, the Bangladeshi authorities also have problems.

The Rohingya are a stateless Muslim minority in Myanmar who have faced discrimination and extreme poverty for decades. They have not been allowed to exercise their basic rights including the freedom to move, right to education, work and other social, civil and political rights. The Rohingya fleeing Myanmar are now stateless refugees, making them even more vulnerable and adding more challenges to the search for solutions. The violence that triggered a massive Rohingya escape at the moment, came after at the end of August, a group of Rohingya ethnic militants attacked more than 20 police posts in Myanmar, killing dozens of people and many were wounded. In retaliation, the army deployed a massive operation. This was followed by the burning of villages by unknown persons. Hundreds of Rohingyas were killed.

Criticism flowed to Aung San Su Kyi who was considered  to be less concerned about the issue. There is even a suggestion  to revoke the Nobel laureate of the Myanmar figure. Suu Kyi herself reacted that the Rohingyas' problems has become big  because of untrue stories (hoaxes) as in the case of photo spreading by a senior official in Turkey.

On the problem  of Rohingya,  Indonesia not only issued an appeal or statement but also sent a diplomatic envoy led by Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi. In a meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi Indonesia proposed 4 solutions. Other countries also responded immediately to the case by providing space for refugees and sending food aid to Bangladesh. But these are not the final solution to the problem.

Rohingyas will still suffer if the real issue is not properly addressed. In the past, though not officially, Myanmar used to  recognize Rohingya as one of the ethnic citizens.  Now Myanmar should accept the fact that the Rohingyas, though not of the same   race and religion, have been part of Myanmar for a long time. Therefore, it is appropriate for the Myanmar government to restore such recognition and accept the Rohingyas.

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