THE plight of the Rohingya Muslims stems from the history of statelessness.

Marginalized and discriminated against since the birth of independent Burmese nation, or perhaps even before that, the ''world's most persecuted minority'' was stripped of its citizenship status in 1982.

The Rohingya who are largely concentrated in Myanmar's impoverished Rakhina state - where their movement is limited and under constant state surveillance -are not even included in the country's list of 135 official ethnic groups.

With no country to call their own, they are effectively rendered refugees in the world. Over the decades hundreds and thousands have fled to Bangladesh, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia to escape state oppression and the prison-like conditions they live under.

But it was in 2016 that the world witnessed one of the worst horrors of our times play out, as evidence began piling up of what has been described as a genocide of the Rohingya people by the Myanmar military.

Mass graves were unearthed, children conceived from rape were born into squalid refugee camps, and satellite images showed entire villages razed to the ground.

Thousands of men, women and children crossed through dangerous waters and hostile territories to make their way into refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh.

There are now over a million of refugees living in Bangladesh, out of which around 700,000 crossed the border between August 2016 and December 2017 alone. Last year, another 16,000 Rohingya entered Bangladesh

Now the Bangladesh foreign secretary has told the UN that his country cannot accommodate any more refugees and is closing its borders. He further voiced his frustration at the inaction of the global community to help rehabilitate refugees, while-

While reserving his harshest criticism for the Myanmar government. Indeed, it is unfair to expect a developing country like Bangladesh to take on such a massive burden of which the fault rests with the Myanmar military and government.

It is also incomprehensible why the Rohingya would be willing to return to their home given that the Myanmar government has failed to give assurance that they will be safe from another bout of violence.

And it is especially shameful that the global community seems to have forgotten about the massacre  they do not have to witness on their television screens anymore, as it washes its hands off any collective responsibility towards these citizens of nowhere.

But it is unlikely the victims will ever, ever forget. [The World Students Society thanks the editorial staff of Dawn].


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