Rohingya exodus

Rohingya exodus has been a heart-rending conundrum. The humanitarian crisis of Rohingya community in Myanmar has drawn international heed. The national and international media are making headlines on this issue.

Of late, thousands of Rohingyas fled Myanmar and more than 400,000 Rohingya minorities have entered Bangladesh for asylum in three weeks. The fresh wave of Rohingya fleeing their homes commenced on 25 August after assaults by Rohingya militants on police and military posts. In response, the government has taken stricter action. Rohingya are the stateless minority communities and Myanmar government denies them citizenship asserting that they are illegal migrants from Bangladesh. There are around one million Rohingya Muslims living in Myanmar. In 2009, the UN spokesperson said Rohingyas are “the most friendless people in the world.”

There have been several occasions in history including in 2015, when many Rohingyas were supposedly forced to flee Myanmar. In the recent violence, thousands of Rohingya migrants are fleeing. Many sleep out in the open in the monsoon rains. Food is running out. The vulnerable are children, women and the old.  However, an Advisory Commission on Rakhine State headed by Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary General, is probing into the truths of Rakhine and Rohingyas.

Opposed to the Burmese government views, the Rohingyas claim that they have lived in Myanmar for generations but they have been refused citizenship. The law in Myanmar does not recognize the Rohingya ethnic minority as one of its “national races.” Human Rights Watch describes the Rohingya as one of the largest stateless populations in the world. More than 200 Rohingya are estimated to dwell in Nepal since 2012, of which 147 have been verified and registered as urban refugees by the UNHCR Nepal.

Given the Rohingya crisis, the Ministry of Home Affairs has alerted security to remain vigilant at border points not to allow the Rohingya to enter Nepal as refugee. The government of Nepal has not acceded to the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees or its 1967 Protocol on Refugees. Rohingyas in Nepal who dwell in temporary makeshifts in Kapan area look woebegone reading and watching news updates of recent developments in Myanmar. It is high time not to let the catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Myanmar aggravate.