Rohingya is the largest Muslim population in Myanmar, and one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. The minority group has been subjected to displacement, statelessness, human rights abuses, and ethnic cleansing fueled by years of conflict dating back to the 1930s.
The Rakhine State alone is home to around 1.2 million Rohingya, who are faced with violence and discrimination. Myanmar’s government has continued to apply the Burma Citizenship Law of 1982 in order to justify its denial of Rohingya citizenship, while including 135 other ethnic groups. This law renders the Rohingya of Myanmar stateless with limited rights despite residing in the country since the seventh century.
According to the 2016 report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, approximately 30,000 Muslim children in the Rakhine State depend on learning spaces set up by humanitarian organizations. These children have no access to qualified textbooks, teachers, or any materials necessary for a quality education. In addition, the Rohingya are not allowed to study professions such as medicine, economics, and engineering, or attend the only university at Rakhine State.
With the rise of ultra-nationalist Buddhist groups in Myanmar, the situation in Rakhine State and the overall anti-Muslim sentiment have intensified throughout the nation. As a result of such ostracizing persecution, the Rohingya have resorted to leaving their homes and risking their lives in search of basic liberties. As of January 5th, 2017, 65,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh in search of access to basic rights. Yet, these individuals have fared even worse fates by being exposed to trafficking, extortion, and other abuses.
Ultimately, the Rohingya are left without a place to go or a voice to use. Their situation grows ever more politicized and polarized. Without an international community or government to show them any support or recognition, the Rohingya are left vulnerable and helpless. Therefore, the International Campaign for the Rohingya aims to advocate and amplify their voices so that they may be granted the basic human and civil rights they deserve.