See More on Facebook

Analysis, Diplomacy, Politics

Rohingya Crisis: Where are we now

Over a year after hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh, no end is in sight for the Rohingya crisis.


Written by

Updated: June 27, 2018

The United Nation’s High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that around 720,000 Rohingya refugees have crossed the border from Myanmar to Bangladesh since August 2017.

Since then, the refugees have been living in camps and makeshift homes along the border while negotiations over repatriation and assistance have gone nowhere.

Myanmar has denied orchestrating widespread ethnic violence against the minority group saying that security officials were responding to sporadic attacks by Rohingya militants.

International Criticism 

In March, a United Nations special adviser said that the body was gathering evidence of a possible genocide against the Rohingya through a Judicial investigation.

The statement came after the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour said that Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingya amounted to “ethnic cleansing.”

“It appears that widespread and systematic violence against the Rohingya persists . . . I don’t think we can draw any other conclusion from what I have seen and heard in Cox’s Bazar,” Gilmour said at the time.

Since then a prosecutor for the International Criminal Court has asked the court to rule whether it has jurisdiction over the possible crimes against humanity committed over the deportations of the Rohingya by Myanmar forces.

A ruling is currently pending.

Other international bodies have added to the voices accusing Naypyidaw of ethnic violence.

The European Union imposed sanctions on seven senior military officials from Myanmar on Monday, including the Major General Maung Maung Soe, who was in charge of the operation which resulted in accusations of murder, rape and arson by security officials.

“He is responsible for the atrocities and serious human rights violations committed against (the) Rohingya population in Rakhine State by the Western Command during that period,” the EU said in a statement.

The seven face asset freezes and are banned from travelling to the EU, after the bloc extended an arms embargo and prohibited any training of, or cooperation with Myanmar’s armed forces.

Myanmar Response 

In response, Myanmar dismissed General Maung Maung Soe, who had already been placed on the list of reserves before his dismissal.

“Maj-Gen Maung Maung Soe, who is among seven military officers on the EU list, was dismissed from service by the Tatmadaw (army) on Monday,” a statement by the office of Myanmar’s commander-in-chief said.

The main reason behind Maj Gen Maung Maung Soe’s expulsion from military service was said “poor performance” in managing “security plans” under the emergency in the aftermath of attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on police and military outposts in October 2016 and August 2017 in northern Rakhine State.

Despite the dismissal, Suu Kyi’s government has rejected any responsibility in the ethnic violence in Rakhine State last year. It continually cites sporadic small-scale attacks by groups of militants towards security officials as justification for its crackdown on the Rohingya population.

Suu Kyi said that “foreign narratives” were biased towards her country has limited access to Rakhine state to investigators and journalists.

While a negotiated repatriation program was concluded between Bangladesh and Myanmar, practical elements are unseen. The repatriation of one Rohingya family was widely criticized by rights groups and journalists as being merely for show.

Moving Forward

The Bangladesh government and UNHCR are expected to complete a comprehensive and unified database of the Rohingya refugees in the next five to six months.

The database will help the Rohingyas to exercise their right to voluntary return to Myanmar.

The UN Refugee Agency in Bangladesh yesterday said the verification exercise, which began on June 21, will help consolidate a unified database for the purposes of identity management, documentation, protection, and provision of assistance, population statistics and solutions for the Rohingyas.

All refugees over the age of 12 will be provided with identity cards, which were made using biometric data, including iris scans and fingerprints, as well as photographs, to confirm individual identities, said the UNHCR in a press release.

The credit card-sized plastic ID, containing a number of anti-fraud features, is issued jointly by the Government of Bangladesh and the UNHCR and will provide protection and access to assistance in Bangladesh, it added.

However, voluntary return to Myanmar is unlikely. According to rights groups, the refugees in camps along the border still view Myanmar security forces with distrust and say they fear for their safety should they return.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Cod Satrusayang
About the Author: Cod Satrusayang is the Managing Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, Diplomacy, Politics

Premier Li announces slew of measures to fight virus in a top-level meeting

Premier Li Keqiang presided over the meeting of the leading group of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on coping with the novel coronavirus, a pneumonia-causing virus, in Beijing. Li is head of the group. China will adopt a host of measures including delaying and reducing conferences and major events, extending the Spring Festival holiday and supporting work online to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to a decision released at a high-level meeting on Sunday. Premier Li Keqiang presided over the meeting of the leading group of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on coping with the novel coronavirus, a pneumonia-causing virus, in Beijing. Li is head of the group. The group was established after a meeting of the St


By China Daily
January 27, 2020

Analysis, Diplomacy, Politics

Wuhan virus: China locks down five cities at epicentre of outbreak

Move to curb virus’ spread across world comes as experts race to crack its code. China has taken the unprecedented move of locking down cities at the heart of a new Sars-like outbreak that has spread swiftly across provinces and the world, killing at least 17 and infecting more than 630. In a dramatic effort to curb the sweep of the mutating virus, officials in Wuhan announced at midnight on Wednesday that the city, where the mystery coronavirus originated last month in a wet market that sold live animals, was being sealed off. Last night, the authorities in the surrounding cities of Huanggang, Ezhou, Chibi and Xiantao in the same Hubei province in central China also imposed travel restrictions. The toughest measures were taken in Huanggang, where


By The Straits Times
January 24, 2020

Analysis, Diplomacy, Politics

New coronavirus cases rise to 571 in Chinese mainland

China’s National Health Commission said cases of the new coronavirus pneumonia disease rose to 571 on the Chinese mainland as of Wednesday midnight, including 95 in critical condition, and fatalities rose to 17,  on Thursday morning. Latest on pneumonia epidemic: Cases of the new coronavirus pneumonia disease rose to 571 on the Chinese mainland as of Wednesday midnight, including 95 in critical condition, and fatalities rose to 17, China’s National Health Commission said on Thursday morning. In addition, 393 suspected cases were reported as of Wednesday midnight. All the reported deaths were in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak. Outside the mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan each confirmed one case.


By China Daily
January 23, 2020

Analysis, Diplomacy, Politics

Strictest measures enacted to contain viral pneumonia in China

As the pathogen continues to spread, the strictest prevention and control measures are being adopted by the Chinese health authorities for the new strain of coronavirus that has caused a pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan. Chinese health authorities are adopting the strictest prevention and control measures for the new strain of coronavirus that has caused a pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei province, as the pathogen continues to spread. On Monday, 77 new confirmed cases of the virus — 2019-nCoV — were reported on the Chinese mainland, bringing the total number of confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland to 291, six of whom died, the National Health Commission said on Tuesday afternoon. Among the new cases, 72 were reported in Hubei province, two in Shanghai a


By China Daily
January 22, 2020

Analysis, Diplomacy, Politics

Wuhan virus: China confirms human-to-human transmission, says medical workers infected

China’s health commission said on Monday (Jan 20)  that medical workers have been infected by the deadly coronavirus first discovered in the central city of Wuhan, confirming it can be transmitted between people. “The current situation is that it is no longer animal to human transmission, but human to human,” said Chinese pulmonologist Zhong Nanshan, who discovered the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) coronavirus in 2003 and now heads an expert panel under the health commission. He cited a case in Guangdong, where the patient had not been to Wuhan but caught the virus from a family member. Dr Zhong also said 14 medical personnel helping with coronavirus patients have been infected by one carrier. “The key to controlling the spread o


By The Straits Times
January 21, 2020

Analysis, Diplomacy, Politics

Trump invites Asean leaders, including Duterte, to summit in US

Donald Trump, the US President has invited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 other leaders of the Asean to a summit to be held in Las Vegas in March. US President Donald Trump has invited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 other leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to a summit to be held in Las Vegas in March. “The invitation was first conveyed during the Asean-US meeting at the Asean Summit and related summits in Bangkok last November. The United States then reiterated its invitation through a letter dated Jan. 9, 2020,”the Palace said. The Palace also released a copy of Trump’s letter to the Asean leaders dated Nov. 1, given during last year’s Asean summit in Bangkok. “I would also like


By Philippine Daily Inquirer
January 20, 2020