Burma’s Rohingya ethnic minority have faced severe human rights violations for decades, and in the past five years this has increased, with legal and human rights experts saying they have suffered from ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, and that there is even a risk of genocide.
Rohingya people face violence and death.Government policies are designed to make and keep them poor. Children are denied education and health services. Most Rohingya have no citizenship and no vote. International aid is restricted, even to the 140,000 people living in camps after their homes and villages were attacked and burned down in 2012. One senior UN official visiting the camps stated: “I witnessed a level of human suffering in IDP camps that I have personally never seen before.”
But now at last there is a chance for change. The new NLD-led government has established a new body to look at the problems in Rakhine State, where most Rohingya live.
The Central Committee for Implementation of Peace and Development in Rakhine State is chaired by Aung San Suu Kyi, and will make key decisions on the future of government policy towards the Rohingya.
Already though, racist nationalists are campaigning to force the NLD government not only to continue repressive policies against the Rohingya, but even increase them.
Rohingya community groups are calling on the new government to take four initial steps to start to end repression of the Rohingya. These are:
- Take action against hate speech and incitement to violence
- Lift restrictions on humanitarian aid
- Repeal the citizenship law which deprives the Rohingya of citizenship and rights
- Support a UN investigation into human rights violations in Rakhine State.
Send a message of hope to the NLD government. Counter the message of hate.
Burma Campaign UK