No End in Sight for Myanmar’s Long-suffering Rohingya
September 11, 2017
Clashes between the minority Rohingya population and security forces in Myanmar’s Rakhine province have resulted in a mass exodus into Bangladesh. The UN estimates that some 290,000 Rohingya Muslims have crossed into Bangladesh over the past two weeks alone. Estimates of deaths so far range from 400-1,000.
The Rohingya constitute around 1.1 million of Myanmar’s 53 million people. They’re predominantly located in the northwest state of Rakhine. Dubbed as ‘the world’s most persecuted minority,’ the Rohingya have encountered persecution and resistance wherever they migrate to: in Bangladesh, India, and of course Myanmar as well. India Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Myanmar was motivated in part by a desire to deport the 40,000 some Rohingya people that fled to India during the last uptick of Rakhine violence in 2012.
Recent events in Rakhine are unequivocally a humanitarian disaster, so much so that the venerable Aung San Suu Kyi has been widely panned for her tepid response to the crisis. Yet there are several geopolitical factors at play here which suggest that the Rohingya’s problems are just beginning.