Rohingya: The Silenced and Oppressed Minorities of Myanmar

Violence between Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists exploded in 2012, when more than 120,000 Rohingya were driven into squalid ghettos and detention camps. Till today the Rohingya are fleeing their homes to seek asylum in countries such as Thailand and Indonesia. The reason they’re fleeing? They aren’t safe in their own country and the government isn’t planning on doing anything to protect them.

For many generations the Rohingya have been living with the Rakhine Buddhists in the Rakhine state in Myanmar. They trade, live and celebrate every cultural celebration together with people from different races and religions who are living in this state. Despite clear evidence of their existence in the Rakhine state, the Myanmar government is still denying their citizenship. They make up 4% of Myanmar population which is about 1 million people.

The government consistently and unequivocally denies the very existence of their ethnicity, instead they classify them as “illegal Bengali immigrants” from Bangladesh. This “systematic weakening” condition denies freedom of movement, access to decent medical care, livelihood opportunities, education and rights to vote.

None of the mainstream media from Myanmar is covering any news on the genocide activity that is happening in Rakhine. The government tightly controlles the style and content of all publications, ensuring that its propaganda mouthpiece, the one and only newspaper publication in Myanmar to report only important and positive events, such as the opening of a new pagoda by a military official.

In 2012, as part of the transition to democracy, the most onerous censorship laws were suddenly lifted. The move was met with widespread astonishment and delight and aim seems to stir up patriotism. But resulted in a new censorship twist in 2015. Two weeks right after the elections, five men were jailed for publishing a calender that simply acknowledged the Rohingya as an ethnic minority. This proves how freedom of speech isn’t tolerated by the Myanmar government. It is clear that even throughout the transition to a new government, freedom of speech is unmistakably denied.

Written by Hanna Lockman

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Describe by friends as a loving, bubbly, poetic soul, traveller and smiley person. She loves inspirational stories and to inspire others. A bookworm and especially enjoy reading old books collected by her father. Consistent learner of the religion she believe in, islam. Active volunteer with various NGO and a founder of islamic apparel in Malaysia