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Rudderless & Drowning in Tears
The Rohingyas of Myanmar months since the latest exodus began, there is little
By Roomana Hukil & Nayantara Shaunik – are from Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies
Within Myanmar there appears to be a decisive state policy designed in the interest of the government, military junta, Buddhist Rakhine, nationalist parties and other ethnical factions. With the 1978 ‘ethnic cleansing’ propaganda targeted against the Rohingya community, Myanmar, has witnessed one of the most devastated large-scale sectarian strife’s in history. Albeit, political pressure, Myanmar, till today, maintains its ideological fancy in its inhumane treatment exhibited towards the Rohingya.
This national venture whilst supported by other Buddhist nations predominantly of Burman and Rakhine majority groups has left the Rohingya community a dismantled lot. However, it was only until 2009, when a worldwide coverage of the plight of the Rohingya vehemently spurred the international community in providing immediate reprieve to the issue. Within the larger framework of social dynamics in Myanmar, this brief focuses on the ethnic conflict affecting.
What has been the internal perceptions of the Rohingya conflict within Myanmar? And what has been the response of the international community so far? Will the Rohingyas continue to remain as, what has been termed by the UN – one of the most persecuted minorities in the world?
The Boat People: Rudderless & Drowning in Tears
The Rohingyas identify themselves as the native settlers of Myanmar backed to the 7th century and disregard all literature that propagates them as illegal migrants. For them, they are the native settlers who are being persecuted due to their varying linguistic and cultural traits. The Rohingya highlight their grievances by advocating the atrocities directed towards them. They re-emphasize that they have been clustered into forced labour with their lands confiscated by the Myanmarese Army. Their freedom of movement restricted; impermissible marriage within their community without prior official approval that is further accustomed with a heavy fee.
With no access to higher education or employment opportunities, 20% of Rohingya are malnourished wherein their life enhancing options are extremely fatal. Due to their statelessness, most countries are reluctant to consider the Rohingyas as refugees and often label them as economic migrants. Moreover, they are quite frequently forcibly pushed back by the neighbouring states, being considered as socio-economic and security threats, as and when they navigate across seas seeking refuge in these countries.
For the Rohingya, the conflict is not a mere struggle to reduce the widened ethnic disparity gap, there is mounting evidence that suggests the government opposes the community due to the perceived threat of an economical-strain propaganda which has directed further revulsion towards the Rohingya populace. While the Rohingya fear the government of eventually propagating a human genocide against them, thus, wiping off their core existence in the near future.
Therefore, they emphasize an urgency of international humanitarian intervention sought with an aim to promoting awareness among cross-transnational borders about their current ordeal. Although, the international media in 2012, played a crucial role in garnering attention to the grave plight of the Rohingya, it is generally skewed towards emphasizing the perceived unsympathetic role played by Bangladesh and Thailand in turning back genuine refugees, and criticizes the country’s overall approach towards the accommodation of vulnerable individuals.
The Rohingya identify the conflict as a massive human rights violation. They believe the claims of the state government and other pre-dominant Buddhist factions are unsubstantial as they have birthrights in the state. Urging for justice at the earliest, the Rohingya seek support from regional organizations as well such as the OIC, ASEAN etc to help provide them with basic sustenance rights from within the state.