Nature of Human Rights Violation against the Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh and in Myanmar


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Nature of Human Rights Violation against the Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh and in Myanmar
By Kurratul Ayin is Senior Lecturer, Department of Law, Stamford University Bangladesh.

This essay highlights the major Human Rights violations against the Rohingyas in Myanmar, who are recognized as stateless by their own country. To the world they become an example of being refugee without the standard concern of International Community as well as UN High Commission for Refugees. This paper discusses the position of refugees in Myanmar and in Bangladesh comparatively. This paper is tries to find out the reason of Rohingyas’ exodus from their history shortly. It will discuss the Human Rights violations before and after this exodus by Myanmar and by Bangladesh. This paper also speaks as a refugee what kind of violations they are regularly facing. Finally, in conclusion attempts are made to evaluate these two countries human rights violation as apparently they are quite similar.

In present world Refugee problem has become common during humanitarian crises and human rights violation in the modern world. International refugee law defines a refugee as someone who seeks refuge in a foreign country because of war and violence, or out of fear of persecution. The 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees adopted the following definition of a refugee (in Article 1.A.2):

“Any person who: owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country”.

Since the Rohingyas are being persecuted from their country because of their race  and to some extent persecuted as because of their distinct religion, hence, they, this article assumes, qualify as Refugees.  In Burma Citizenship Law 1982 , Rohingyas are not recognized as national and consequently they are deprived from all citizens‟ rights as well as constitutional rights also. So it can be presumed, before 1982 Rohingyas are not unrecognized as national by Myanmar. They are being fled from Myanmar as a refugee since 1962. So it can be said Rohingyas are fled to another county (from Myanmar) as refugee for the persecution caused due to their race and to some extent persecution caused by religion from their own country.

In this regard Rohingyas are remaining one of the most persecuted and vulnerable communities in the world, a long time as a consequence of constant persecution, they are unable to rightfully claim Myanmar as their own state.  They have been denied Burmese citizenship in The Citizenship Law 1982, though, they have been living in Arakan for about thousand years of being a part of Burmese (Myanmar) people.

Looking back to the history, the Rohingyas denied from negotiations with the British during the independence of Burma in 1948. As per the historic Union Treaty on 12 February 1947 signed by the Nationalists, after that state of Burma framed the union constitution which under the heading “Right to Secession” includes the right to secede after ten years. In this treaty Rohingya representatives were not invited and hence the Rohingyas were not recognized as a people in the Union. It may be assumed that the non-representation of the Rohingya and consequently their constitutional recognition created a fusion of deteriorate relation between the State of Myanmar and the Rohingyas which has political manifestations.

Persecution if may be regarded as a consequence of the tension began in resulting exodus of the Rohingyas to Bangladesh. As result of Rohingya exodus, Bangladesh hosts more than 200,000 Muslim Rohingya refugees forced from Western Burma (Myanmar) who fled during 1991-92 to escape persecution by the Burmese military junta. Many are living here almost for twenty years. The Bangladeshi government divides the Rohingya into two categories – recognized refugees living in official camps and unrecognized refugees living in unofficial sites or among Bangladeshi communities. Around 30,000 Rohingyas are residing in two camps in Nayapara and Kutupalong area of Cox’s Bazar district in Bangladesh. These camp residents have access to basic services, those outside do not.

Practically the Rohingyas are unwanted in their own country and outside the country also. Based on this crisis towards Rohingya, Firstly, this paper highlights some violations of Human Rights of Rohingyas in Myanmar and in Bangladesh as refugees. Secondly, it will prove that the violation of Human Rights in Myanmar and in Bangladesh varies in degree not in substance, though Bangladesh being a democracy is more advanced in Human rights comparatively than Myanmar. The purpose of this article is iconoclastic. It will challenge the pride that we (Bangladesh) bear, perhaps as being a democracy for more than two decades better civilizational standards than that of Myanmar.


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