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Systematic Ethnic Cleansing :The Case Study of Rohingya Community In Myanmar
Yousuf Storai — International Center for Refugee and Migration Studies, Balochistan University, Quetta, Pakistan.
This paper attempts to analyze the situation in Rakhine state of Myanmar with reference to Rohingya ethnic community. The paper primarily focuses, the state polices of Myanmar’s since its inception with Rohingya community. Moreover, the role of counterpart agencies such as major political parties and military are also discussed in the paper. It argues that government machinery as a whole is systematically involved in weakening and expelling the Rohingya community. This systematic weakening is indirectly pushing the said community out from the country, which is called as ethnic cleansing.
While the conceptual framework used in the paper is “exclusionary approach/concept” which is derived from the theory of national integration. In addition to this, the study includesstructured interviews, which are conducted from international scholars and researchers as well, which are well up on the issue. These interviews also substantiated that Rohingya are frequently subject of abuses as well as persecution by the Myanmar government. Whereas, the purpose of paper is to understand the issue from its core, as it is one of the burning issue, due to which large number of Rohingya are assuming the status of refugee. Thus, the research will play significant role in the policy recommendations/formulations disk with regard to understanding and solving the long disagreement.
Mass migration in shape of refugee is one of the emerging issue to the peace and security of the world. Due to it, millions of people across the globe are subject to forced migration in one or the other way. Whereas refugee and migration is most of the time product of inter communal riots, identity crisis, inter religious differences, nationalistic tendencies, plurality, and ethnic conflicts (Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, 2014). Moreover, refugee influx also occurs when a state does not equally treat its polarized or heterogeneous society.
While, such kinds of persecutions, we/which have led to migration have long history can be traced back to the end of cold war. In addition to this, countries such as Pakistan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Rwanda, Indonesia, Srilanka and Philippine etc., have largely witnessed such worst kind of exodus migrations (Migration & Remittances Factbook, 2016). So, this makes Asia as one of the most discussed region in the debates related to migration and refugee’s disagreement.
The same is the case of Rohingya; a Muslim minority group, living in Rakhine, the western side of Myanmar, previously it was called as Arkan. This ethnic group, which constitutes 4% population in Myanmar, is living in miserable conditions and their source of income is largely dependent upon fishing and agriculture (Special Issue on Growing Poverty, 2016). Moreover, their dominated areas are totally deprived off basic necessities of life, while the poverty rate in the area is 78% (Dutta, 2015). Not only this, even Rohingya do not possess any legal document of citizenship, due to this government does not own them and consider as refugees in the country. Based on the immigrant or refugee status, they are highly disgusted and are often made scapegoat of every ill.
As a result, this community does not have any role in the state building process as well as in the institutions of the state. While on other hand, sporadically clashes flare up with other communities in the country, notably with Buddhists. Therefore, each such clash mounts violence and gives birth to persecutions of Rohingya, in shape of death,injuries, hate, burning of property etc. As a result, such kind of violence further enlarges the gap of mistrust between Rohingya and Buddhists. So, these unending and unexpected waves of persecutions, force Rohingya to take shelter in the state sponsored camps (Inside Myanmar) as Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s), while others fly to the neighboring countries of Myanmar.
In short, due to the recent unrest in Myanmar, sparked in August 2017 have made more than 600,000 Rohingya subject to mass migration and majority of them have taken refuge in Bangladesh. Therefore, the overall connecting dots shows that major state actors are systematically involve in the weakening and purging of Rohingya out from the country. Thus, due to this systematic weakening, the Rohingya community in Myanmar is often subject of mass migration.