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Bree’s Beat

Rohingya threatened by their own government

By Bree Bailey | Echo

The merciless slaughter of a people group called the Rohingya is happening today in the country of Myanmar (Burma).

At the beginning of December, around 650,000 Rohingya had fled their country trying to escape the murder, rape and other attacks that began in late August. However, this injustice started much earlier.

When Nurul Amin was only 10 years old, he was forced to flee his country of Myanmar and become a refugee in Bangladesh. He and his family were running from the forced labor, rape and religious persecution the Rohingya were facing in their homeland. They returned to their home when told they would once again be granted citizenship.

Myanmar’s government continuously promised to grant Rohingyas citizenship when pressed by outside authorities. However, this vow remained unfulfilled year after year. Instead, Myanmar’s government offered national verification cards which classified Rohingyas as illegal immigrants in their own country.

Rohingyas were required to pay for rights to marriage, burial, travel and property. A cap value was placed on how much a Rohingya could own.

Many, like Syed Alam, 20, desire to return to their homeland without being labeled as illegal immigrants. Abdul Kader addressed his frustration that Rohingyas could not even own livestock without first obtaining permission from the military.

(The army) visit(s) once a month,” said Kader in a statement. “If they find any increase in number of domestic animals, the Rohingya have to pay for that. Even if anyone wants to marry, they have to pay. Relatives also have to pay the military to bury their dead.”

As time went on, the violence dramatically increased. In 2012 and 2016, the military intensified their control and ethnic controversies arose all across the country. The combination of these along with already unideal living situations resulted in worsened conflict and Rohingyas were forced to live in refugee camps.

After a mass exodus of 700,000 Rohingyas fleeing for their lives last August, the refugee camp in Kutupalong, Bangladesh became the largest in the world. Currently, over 1.1 million Rohingyas reside in Bangladesh.

Other ethnic conflicts have resulted in over 4,000 people being driven from their homes since the beginning of April. Many civilians are fleeing to the border with China, and aid organizations are pushing China to let them in.

“Our biggest concern is for the safety of civilians including pregnant women, the elderly, small children and people with disabilities,” said Mark Cutts, the head of the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in a statement to AFP news agency.

Pray for the people of Myanmar as conflict and injustice leave thousands in destitution. They need to unite and work together in order for peace to once again reign in their land. On top of this, deeply rooted ethnic discrimination must be dissolved to prevent a horrific genocide from destroying the Rohingya.

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