Sunday, October 15, 2017

Restless Rohingya Refugees

Over 400,000 Rohingya refugees. All seeking refuge in Bangladesh. Worrying about food and basic safety. Boats capsizing. Children fleeing the Rakhine state. Severe injuries and death. Praying men. People scrambling to catch food distributed by Bangladeshi volunteers and aid groups at refugee camps. So much grief and mourning over lost lives.

Often described as the most persecuted minority in the world, the Rohingya people are an ethnic Muslim minority from Myanmar (Burma), where they have been denied citizenship because they are not formally recognized by the government. Most of the Rohingya people are from the state of Rakhine on the west coast of Myanmar.

One sad story of these refugees is the one of Hanida Begum. Her son, one month old Abdul Masood, passed away after the boat they were traveling in capsized in the waist deep water of the Bay of Bengal.

Unfortunately for the Rohingya people, not many countries are welcoming toward them despite their situation. Sometimes, the Bangladeshi will allow them to stay in refugee camps on its border, but other times, they just send them back to Myanmar. In 2015, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia pushed stranded groups of Rohingya at sea back and forth between each other, refusing to take them in.

There are different thoughts in Indonesia as well, as it is the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation. Indonesians have shown support for the Rohingya by carrying out regular protests.

The Rohingya refugees really have nowhere to go. The Burmese want them out of the Rakhine state, out of Myanmar. But, countries around Myanmar like Bangladesh want them to return to Myanmar. Because of this, there have been deaths and mourning of loved ones. They cannot secure work, food, or safety. Life is very difficult for the Rohingya refugees.

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