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A Humanitarian Crisis Unfolds in Myanmar

Dylan Marshall, News

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The past few months have brought crazy stories to the news: the west coast and its unprecedented fires, massive flooding in BC, and now, hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria, not to mention all the ridiculous news articles about political scandals. However, what I think is the most shocking story to come out of this year so far is the modern-day ethnic cleansing that is happening to the Rohingya in Myanmar.

In case you didn’t know, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is a country in Southeast Asia, with a population of roughly 50 million, and the Rohingya make up roughly 2% of that. They are people who have lived there since the 8th century, yet are still seen as illegal migrants from Bangladesh, a neighbouring country, and are not recognized as citizens of Myanmar, making them stateless. Many restrictions have been placed on them, involving them needing to apply for travel pass to visit a neighbouring village, and to obtain permission for marriage by paying high fees and bribes. They’ve been subject to several human rights violations, including forced malnutrition and forced labour, restrictions on education, healthcare and movement, and arbitrary arrests and killings.

Clearly, persecution towards the Rohingya, is nothing new, but within the past month, things have gotten much worse. Villages have been burned, thousands of people have been murdered, and there are enough horror stories to fill pages upon pages. The Rohingya have been forced to flee, mostly to Bangladesh. The main persecutors have been the Myanmar Army and the police, who have been needlessly violent and hell-bent on hurting the Rohingya in any way they can.

I would love to conclude this happily, and with some good news, but the situation doesn’t seem to be improving much, as the Myanmar government is blocking help from the U.N. and shutting out those who could help. Until the Rohingya are accepted, and are recognized as citizens of Myanmar, and more importantly, as people, they will be persecuted to no end.

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A Humanitarian Crisis Unfolds in Myanmar