ACTION CARD - January 2018
Rohingya Crisis - Myanmar
Over 620,000 Rohingyas have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh following widespread ethnic violence in Rakhine
State. This is an exceptionally rapid flight and one of the largest refugee movements that we have seen
anywhere in recent years. Living in temporary, unsanitary structures they need our help to survive and also
to bring about conditions that could enable their eventual return.
Violence towards the Muslim Rohingya has been increasing in recent years. In August 2017 a militant
Rohingya group organised a series of attacks on the Myanmar military. The response was brutal with whole
villages burnt to the ground either by military or Burmese vigilante groups. The military has been accused of
using disproportionate force in its operations, including allegations of mass rape, extrajudicial killing and
torture. Implausibly the Myanmar’s government claims that not a single civilian was killed by the military. The
government has not allowed the UN or other groups access to the area, with the exception of limited access
for the Red Cross.
Since 1982, the Rohingya people of Myanmar’s Rakhine state have been effectively stateless and are not
permitted the rights of full citizens. Most have only a residency permit and are not allow free movement
within Myanmar. Their discrimination is not only the product of legislation and state practice but sadly is
supported by the vast majority of ethnic Burmese. Even the use of the term ’Rohingya’ is controversial within
the country, the vast majority of the population misleadingly referring to the Rohingya as ‘Bengali’.
If the Rohingya are to return to Myanmar it must be a voluntary repatriation and they will need to feel that
they can have a secure status and protection. In August 2017 an Advisory Commission on Rakhine State,
headed by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, recommended that citizenship laws be amended so that
rights to citizenship do not depend on ethnicity.
· Support the Disaster Emergency Committee appeal or the appeals of churches or humanitarian
agencies to provide shelter to Rohingya refugees in a desperate situation in Bangladesh.
· Call on the Government of Myanmar to implement in full the recommendations of the Annan
Commission on Rakhine State, including the issuing of full citizenship rights to all people living in
Myanmar including the Rohingya.
Write to: -
Ambassador of Myanmar
His Excellency, U Kyaw Zwar Minn
Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar
19A Charles Street