Recent protests and allegations can be heard in Southeast Asia. Thousands of Rohingya Muslims try to seek refuge from military abuse in the Rakhine State. Rohingya Muslims are considered to be the minority of the state with about a one million population.
In 1945, Japan was occupying what is now known as Myanmar. With the help of Britain and Burmese nationalists they were able to be liberated from Japan. All thanks to Aung San and Rohingya fighters who led the liberation. However, Britain turned their back on the promise of Burma and having autonomy. In 1962, there were heavy tensions between the new government of Burma (now known as Myanmar) and the Muslim community. This was because they had wanted to join Pakistan. As a result of the increased tensions, the Burma Socialist Program led by General Ne Win took power. This began the harsh and inhumane treatments of the Rohingya Muslims.
Since then, many have fled to the neighboring country of Bangladesh as undocumented citizens. However, Bangladesh has been turning their backs on them which results in most having to go back to the Rakhine State. The military, has of course, denied all allegations of any inhumane acts. Bangladesh has closed their borders because they do not believe the Rohingya Muslim to be classified as refugees.
The United Nations had deemed that these atrocities are crimes against humanity. As they are even being denied basic rights such as having citizenship associated by country of birth. There have been several eyewitnesses and countless retellings of the military raiding, burning, raping, and killing. Recently, India has also closed their borders to refugees stating that they already have several issues dealing with illegal immigrants.
The violence only increased when a Rohingya militant group attacked and killed twelve officers. In response, the military had increased their brutality against the Rohingya Muslims. Although the United Nations received several reports about the crimes, they cannot perform an official investigation. This is because Myanmar has denied them access. Reports have been indicating that over 300,000 refugees have fled to Bangladesh and aid agencies are in need of supplies.
So what can be done? For years, the Rohingya Muslims torment has gone unnoticed from the general public. For starters, you can go to change.org and sign the petition for the UN to get involved in Myanmar. You can also donate to the UNHCR in support of the refugees. With just the right amount of pressure for the rest of the world, help can be brought to the Rohingya Muslims so desperately need.
By Anika Shakir