World In View: Threats to Rohingya

From the March-April 2015 issue of News & Letters

Over one million Rohingya, a Muslim people living in Burma (Myanmar), are once again being subjected to threats from the state. Burma’s rulers, who are closely related to the military junta that ruled previously, have issued orders to revoke their “temporary registration certificates.” These white cards give the Rohingya the right to vote, and to some education and health benefits. Revoking them raises once again the specter of wholesale expulsion.

The government, along with a significant part of the Buddhist religious authorities, consider the Rohingya to be “illegals,” claiming they are really Bengali, and should leave for Bangladesh.

In the most recent period some 140,000 Rohingya have been forced to flee to internment camps in the face of extremist Buddhists’ incitement of anti-Muslim rampages. Some 100,000 others have fled the country.

This is only the latest act against the Rohingya. A 1982 law denied them citizenship, and last November the government rejected a UN resolution calling for their citizenship to be restored.

—E.W.

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