This guide is intended as context for the opinion piece below on Aung San Suu Kyi.
“Rohingya” is the term the ethnic minority group call themselves.
Religion. Majority are Muslim.
Location. Rakhine state which is at least 80% Rohingya. Borders Bangladesh.
Population. Inside Burma– approx. 750,000.
IDPs –‘Internally Displaced’. Estimated at 140,000.
Outside Burma -approx. 1 million. Up to 400,000 live in Saudi Arabia where they had been offered ‘safe haven’ however many are now under pressure to leave. 300,000 are in Bangladesh, 200,000 in Pakistan, 100,000 in Thailand, and 40,000 in Malaysia.
History. There appears to have been a small Muslim minority in Rakhine since the 15thc with growing numbers of people from Bengal living there since 1826 following the first Anglo-Burmese War.
Legal Status. Illegal immigrants.
Restrictions. No citizenship. Unable to work, marry, or travel without government documentation. Limited by law to no more than 2 children.
Current crisis. Sparked by 2012 riots between Buddhists and Rohingya which left hundreds dead. The ongoing repression has led to the exodus which worsened after Malaysia, and Thailand began to refuse to accept more refugees saying it would only encourage an exodus.