The Rohingya people who are an ethnic group consisting majorly of Muslims are often termed as “the world’s most persecuted minority”. They are a stateless Indo-Aryan-speaking people from Rakhine State, Myanmar and their estimated population was 1 million who were living in Myanmar before the 2016–17 crises.
The Myanmar government refuses to recognize the Rohingya as citizens, claiming that they are Bangladeshi or Bengali. The UN and rights groups have since a long time, accused the government of ethnic cleansing through its unfair and discriminating policies.
Not too long ago, Myanmar’s military has imposed a crackdown on the country’s Rohingya population after police posts and an army base were attacked last year. Residents and activists have described scenes of troops firing blindly at unarmed Rohingya people. The government, however, stated that 100 people were killed after armed men from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) imposed an unexpected raid on police outposts in the region.
Since the time of the indiscriminate firing, documents have been recorded of fires burning in at least 10 areas of Myanmar’s Rakhine State. More than 500,000 people have fled the terror, with thousands trapped in a no-man’s land between the two countries, according to UNHCR.
The UN has also said that hundreds of civilians who have tried to enter Bangladesh have been pushed back by patrols. Many have also been detained and forcibly returned to Myanmar.
While many Rohingya wish to eventually return to their villages, UNICEF deputy executive director Justin Forsyth said that no one he met during visits to Bangladesh’s refugee camps said they would go back now according to news network Al Jazeera.
“This moment is not safe to go back,” he stated. ‘We have to improve the security situation inside Myanmar to send them back.”
Gradual repatriations of Rohingya should have begun on Tuesday under agreements signed by both Myanmar and Bangladesh, but Bangladeshi officials delayed the returns, saying that there weren’t clear enough answers about safety and whether the refugees were returning voluntarily.