The international community is demanding that the Rohingya be allowed to go home in safety, and Bangladesh and Myanmar have begun talks on repatriation, but huge doubts remain about the Rohingya ever being able to return in peace to rebuild their homes and till their fields.
The refugees drowned in heavy seas off Bangladesh late on Thursday, part of a new surge of people fleeing a Myanmar military campaign that began on Aug. 25 and has triggered an exodus of some 502,000 people.
Today, the Rohingya are the single largest “stateless” community in the world. Their “statelessness” or lack of citizenship increases their vulnerability because they are not entitled to any legal protection from the government.
The Myanmar military response has sent more than 410,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh, escaping what they and rights monitors say is a campaign aimed at driving out the Muslim population.
It was her desire to hear the stories of real people — “not just faceless refugees or immigrants” — that brought the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton to a refugee resettlement agency that provides a range of services to refugees in the Chicago area.
“Especially now, when there’s this fear that’s been stirred up, and anti-refugee sentiment, it’s really critical to say, ‘No, these people are our grandparents, our aunts and uncles,” said the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination.
A U.N. report issued last month, based on interviews with 220 Rohingya among 75,000 who have fled to Bangladesh since October, said that Myanmar's security forces have committed mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya in a campaign that "very likely" amounts to crimes against humanity and possibly ethnic cleansing.
A 6.8 earthquake struck Myanmar on Aug. 24, reports the Wall Street Journal, the same day a deadly earthquake struck Italy. At least three people have died.
The Nobel laureate and human rights advocate Aung San Suu Kyi entered the Myanmar Parliament this week, shortly after her party, the National League for Democracy, won the country's first free election in 25 years.
In those 25 years — since the 1990 election, which the NLD also won — Aung San Suu Kyi spent a total of 15 years without her freedom, having been placed under house arrest by the ruling military government which ignored the election results.
Since 1988, Ms. Suu Kyi has led nonviolent opposition to the military government. Last week’s landslide election results, which took the ruling generals by surprise, demonstrate once again that nonviolence is a force more powerful than violence.
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims live in squalor in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State. That number has been falling fast as thousands flee by land and sea in search of better lives and basic survival. Here’s a look at who the Rohingyas are and why they’re leaving Myanmar in droves.
Sometimes a smiley-face emoticon just won’t do the trick.
In Myanmar, the newest set of Facebook stickers features a flower in an animated character’s mouth. The 24 stickers carry a deeper message than the usual “Like” thumbs-up Facebook icon: “End hate speech with flower speech.”
The stickers are the latest attempt to combat the spread of “dangerous speech” online and are sponsored by Panzagar, a coalition of civil society activists. The group’s name, which means “flower speech,” was organized as a response to the pervasiveness of anti-Muslim invective online and in public space.
At the same time and with less fanfare, Facebook is rolling out a new process for users to report online abuse in Myanmar. Since November 21, Facebook users in the country have new options available to report disturbing posts. The new process is aimed at more quickly addressing complaints and removing offensive posts in the Myanmar language.
This type of “market-specific reporting mechanism” already exists in some regions, including North Africa. Facebook’s grievance process was originally developed in the U.S. in response to teen cyberbullying.
At the end of a three-day tour, the Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation told Buddhist-majority Myanmar to repeal “laws restricting fundamental freedoms” after more than 240 Muslims were killed by Buddhist mobs during the past year.
Before the OIC delegates left Myanmar on Saturday, they visited minority ethnic Rohingya Muslims who fled the violence and are now living in squalid camps along the border with Bangladesh in Myanmar’s Arakan state, also known as Rakhine.
Headed by Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the OIC delegation called on the government to continue legal reforms, The New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported.
A radical Buddhist monk in Myanmar said a bomb that exploded near him, wounding five devotees, came after a death threat by a “Muslim religious leader” who wanted to silence his campaign to prevent Buddhist women from marrying Muslim men.
Ashin Wirathu’s portrait appeared on the July 1 cover of Time magazine’s Asia edition, above the headline, “The Face of Buddhist Terror: How Militant Monks are Fueling Anti-Muslim Violence in Asia.”
“Since their plan to fight me via Time Magazine has failed, they are now targeting my ‘dharma’ [Buddhist teaching] events, and the devotees, with explosive devices,” Wirathu told the respected Irrawaddy magazine.
Don't forget the situation in Burma.
Teresa and her husband, Rich, have been at my church for about four years now. Like several of our members, their faith in Christ and desire to live out the gospel not only humbles me but helps shape the depth and direction of our church. Teresa started a blog titled