In less than a year, almost the entire population of this ethnic group has fled Burma to save their lives
Temas Worldwide, there are more than 17 million refugees, according to data from UNHCR (United Nations Agency for Refugees). Most live in refugee camps in Africa and the Middle East, where the worst wars and armed conflicts take place.
However, in the last year, one of the worst refugee crises in recent history has erupted outside these regions. Rohingyas, a Muslim minority living in Burma, have been forced to flee their homes to escape the persecution of the Burmese government.
About 900,000 Rohingyas have crossed the border between Burma and Bangladesh and now live in refugee camps. The largest, that of Kutupalong, welcomes more than 600,000 people.
Reuters gana el Pulitzer por mostrar el éxodo rohingya de Myanmar. Ahora el riesgo está en Bangladesh donde se esperan lluvias torrenciales en unos campos de refugiados muy precarios #LoPerderanTodohttps://t.co/FoUoftV27e
— Estefanía G. Díaz (@EstefGarciaDiaz) April 17, 2018
From Revolt to Prosecution
It all started on August 25, 2017, when a group of Rohingya insurgents attacked several police precincts in Burma and killed 12 agents.
The Rohingya have lived for generations in Burma, but they are a Muslim minority in a Buddhist country. The Burmese government has always discriminated against them and does not recognize them as full citizens. That is why the attacks of August were used as an excuse to start prosecution.
The Burmese security forces began to burn the Rohingya villages, carried out illegal detentions, rapes and torture. Between August and December 2017, at least 9,000 people died being prosecuted by the authorities in Burma.
6 meses de #éxodo #rohingya: En estos momentos, #MSF cuenta con 15 puestos de salud, tres centros de atención primaria y cinco instalaciones con servicios hospitalarios en los asentamientos de #refugiados rohingyas de Cox's Bazar #Bangladesh https://t.co/t4RD33trhd pic.twitter.com/aNU7QaZKGZ
— Médicos Sin Fronteras (@MSF_Espana) February 26, 2018
Surprisingly though, one of the leaders of the Burmese government is Aung San Suu Ky, an activist who fought for democratic rights in Burma and faced the military dictatorship that controlled the country for decades. In 1991 he received the Nobel Peace Prize.
But despite international pressure and having herself under house arrest for 15 years, Suu Ky has denied the prosecution of the Rohingyas and has ignored criticism from the UN and NGOs.
The Dangers at Camps
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas have crossed the border from Burma, walking through the jungle, and now live in very precarious conditions in improvised refugee camps in Bangladesh.
At these camps, NGO members try to help refugees by covering basic needs such as food or medical care.
Unfortunately, almost half a million children have been left with no access to education, which could have serious consequences in the future. Many have made it to the camps alone, after their families getting killed having lived traumatic experiences.
During the rainy season, between June and September, refugee camps also suffer the threat of cyclones. Torrential rains and strong winds can cause great damage to refugee houses, built precariously with plastic and sticks.
The storm can also have a serious effect on health systems and drinking water, resulting in the appearance of contagious diseases.
Este fin de semana se han producido fuertes lluvias en los campos de #refugiados de Cox´s Bazar en Bangladesh. Se han inundado refugios y ha habido deslizamientos de tierra. Seguimos trabajando para proteger a los miles de niños y niñas que viven aquí https://t.co/YcOz4nA4Hh pic.twitter.com/LRKQLmKmQ4
— Save the Children Es (@SaveChildrenEs) June 11, 2018