As the Rohingya wait to return home, it is important we do all we can to ensure that they are protected and secure
In Myanmar, the Rohingya have suffered tremendously at the hands of the army, and the numbers tell a story most tragic.
An estimated 25,000 Rohingya were murdered in Myanmar before their exodus in August of last year. This is in addition to the 19,000 women and adolescents who were raped, the 116,000 who were beaten, the more than 90% who continue to face discrimination, and the thousands of others who were burned, tortured, and witnessed the brutalization of their families.
There is no denying that this is a systematic effort to ethnically cleanse an entire ethnic group, a people who have never in history been treated as equal citizens of the nation, even their most basic human rights denied.
For the Myanmar government to then deny any wrong-doing is an insult to the Rohingya and the hundreds of thousands who have suffered, and to humanity itself.
As such, it is of little surprise that Rohingya repatriation remains elusive, despite the fact that 79% of the refugees say they would like to return to Rakhine “as soon as possible.”
While Bangladesh has done everything in its power to provide for the Rohingya, the current situation, especially without international aid, is not sustainable.
With only 1,000 police officers currently guarding the various shanties in the Rohingya camps, the refugees have fallen prey to crimes. Recently, a spate of horrific murders has left the Rohingya feeling afraid and vulnerable -- in one case the victim was stabbed 25 times.
But reports also indicate that when the police are called, they remain unhelpful and unresponsive, while internal feuds over territory have led to further violence.
The Bangladesh government has done a remarkable job of sheltering these refugees so far, and as the Rohingya wait to return home, it is important we do all we can to ensure that they are protected and secure.
After what they have been through, they deserve this from us.