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

10 US senators criticise Suu Kyi for representing military’s interest

Suu Kyi is in the Hague defending Myanmar from genocide accusations. Ten US Senators have severely criticized Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi for representing the military’s interest before the International Court of Justice and defending the mass atrocities committed against the Rohingyas and other ethnic minorities. “Representing the Burmese military’s interest before The Hague and defending the mass atrocities committed against the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities would undermine what remaining credibility you have before the international community, including in the US Congress,” said a letter to Suu Kyi issued on December 9. The Senators said a defense of the Burmese military at this high-profile international forum is also an affront to the inclusive, multi-cultural and democratic Burma that she claims to champion. They said when Buddhist nationalism is on the rise in


By Daily Star
December 13, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy, Politics

India under Modi is moving systematically with a supremacist agenda, says PM Imran

Imran Khan made the comments after India passed a controversial citizenship requirement. Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been moving systematically with a Hindu supremacist agenda. The prime minister was referencing the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill passed by India’s upper house amid protests on Wednesday. The bill will let the Indian government grant citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants who entered India from three neighbouring countries before 2015 — but not if they are Muslim. Modi’s government — re-elected in May and under pressure over a slowing economy — says Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan are excluded from the legislation because they do not face discrimination in those countries. Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister I


By Dawn
December 13, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy, Politics

China, US in constant touch to resolve trade issues

China and the United States are in constant touch to resolve pending trade and economic issues, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday. The comment came ahead of Sunday’s US deadline for another scheduled round of tariff increases on Chinese imports worth almost $160 billion. If a trade deal is not struck by Sunday, computer monitors and toys will be among the Chinese export items likely to be affected. Gao Feng, a ministry spokesman, said the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council has already worked out tariff exemptions on some soybean, pork and other products shipped from the US — the latest sign of tensions easing in the protracted trade conflict. The US seems to resort to brinkmanship by using a tariff deadline to pressure China in the ongoing trade talks for a phase one, preliminary deal, said Chen Wenling, chief economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges


By China Daily
December 13, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy, Politics

Japan: Koizumi offers no concrete plan on coal

The new environment minister needs to offer better ways to tackle climate change.  During a ministerial meeting of the U.N. climate summit in Madrid on Wednesday, Shinjiro Koizumi, the Environment Minister did not express concrete steps for reducing coal-fired thermal power generation. Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi did not express concrete steps for reducing coal-fired thermal power generation, for which construction of new plants is currently underway in Japan, during a ministerial meeting of the U.N. climate summit in Madrid on Wednesday. “I am afraid I cannot share new development on our coal policy today,” Koizumi said at the ongoing 25th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate


By The Japan News
December 13, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy, Politics

US warns N. Korea against ‘ill-advised’ action

North Korean threats unlikely to succeed in bringing the US to the table. A top US diplomat warned North Korea on Thursday against taking any “ill-advised” action in light of its veiled threats to resume nuclear and long-range missile tests. David Stilwell, US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, made the remark as North Korea has threatened to take a “new way” unless the US offers concessions in their stalled denuclearization negotiations before the end of the year. Washington has urged Pyongyang to stick to its commitment to cease nuclear and long-range missile tests, saying they would be count


By The Korea Herald
December 13, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy, Politics

India, China step up the wooing but Rajapaksa in no hurry to align Sri Lanka

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will try to balance the competing interests of China, India in the region. The conversation in regional capitals after the emphatic win of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the Sri Lankan elections last month centres around a central question: Will he manage to pull a Sheikh Hasina on India and China? The reference, of course, is to the Bangladesh Prime Minister who many believe has managed to successfully push her country’s interests by balancing the competing strategic ambitions of China and India in South Asia. And Rajapaksa knows a thing or two about protecting what he believes are his country’s core interests. After all, he braved the Western world’s intense criticism – and India’s acute discomfort given its large domestic Tamil population – of the means adopted by him as Defence Minister in his brother and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s


By Ishan Joshi
December 12, 2019