In 2017, Myanmar’s military began a widespread campaign of massacres, rapes and arson against the Rohingya in northern Rakhine state. More than 730,000 Rohingya fled to dangerous, flood-prone camps in Bangladesh. Security forces killed thousands and burned down nearly 400 villages.
DHAKA AUGUST 26: On August 25, 2017, Myanmar’s military began a sweeping campaign of massacres, rape, and arson in northern Rakhine State. Five years later, Rohingya Muslims are still awaiting justice.
In the wake of these attacks, more than 730,000 Rohingya fled to dangerous, flood-prone camps in Bangladesh, while about 600,000 remain under oppressive rule in Myanmar.
Human Rights Watch has interviewed hundreds of Rohingya in Bangladesh who fled the Myanmar military’s atrocities. They described soldiers killing and raping villagers before torching their homes. Altogether, security forces killed thousands and burned down nearly 400 villages.
About one million Rohingya who fled the violence now live as refugees in sprawling, overcrowded camps in Cox’s Bazar and the isolated silt island of Bhasan Char in Bangladesh, where many lack adequate medical supplies, clean water, and food.
Authorities there impose restrictions on work, movement, and education, making many refugees feel unwelcome and at risk. Authorities have destroyed shops, restricted travel and closed schools in the camps, denying many refugees an education.
The 2017 atrocities were the bloody culmination of decades of state repression and discrimination against the Rohingya Muslims who Myanmar authorities had long sought to remove from daily life in the predominantly Buddhist country. In 2012, when violence broke out in Rakhine State’s capital city Sittwe, authorities enacted policies to even more fully segregate and confine the Rohingya in Rakhine States.
No one has been held accountable for the crimes against humanity and acts of genocide committed against the Muslim population.