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The Rohingyas──The Forsaken Bunch

[ ‘SHARE’ May-Jun 2017 ] STEP INTO THE WORLD

The Rohingyas is an ethnic minority in Myanmar under the constant oppression of the government militaries. A lot of them were driven to the neighboring Bangladesh to seek asylum since the early time of British colonization.

To increase its labor force, the British Burma government encouraged Bangladeshis to work in Myanmar. Many Rohingyas were among the waves of Bangladeshis migrant workers. Most Rohingyas were Muslims, while most Bamars were Buddhists. Such differences in culture, in addition to the British Burma government’s inclination towards Muslims, increased the friction between the two races.

Once Myanmar was declared independent, the Bamar-dominant military government started persecuting the Rohingyas, stripping them of their political rights and expelling them from the country, which directly led to the large scale armed conflicts in the 80’s. The discrimination against Rohingyas has never ceased even though Myanmar is now governed by a democratically elected authority.

In 2015, a few thousand Rohingyas, dubbed the “boat people” by the international media, migrated outwards from Myanmar and Bangladesh. Using small and busted boats, they rode the currents from around the Strait of Malacca and the Andaman Islands towards southeast Asia countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, etc.[1] A lot of Rohingyas were forced to hire the help of traffickers, but some was murdered by them as they could not afford ransoms and the smuggling costs, while others suffered horribly due to dreadful environments on the ships.[2] Reports of The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in November 2016 pointed out that the Rohingyas are being raped, tortured, and systematically murdered, the severity of which equals to that of a genocide. Assaults have forced around 30,000 Rohingyas to abandon their homes and seek asylum in Bangladesh, which disregarded every appeal from other nations to let them in, and further urged the Myanmar government to contain the Rohingyas. Currently, tens of thousands of Rohingyas are stranded between the borders of Myanmar and Bangladesh.

We pray that God would have mercy on the sojourning and persecuted Rohingyas and protect them; to take up the cause of the fatherless and plead the case of the widow; and to feed those without food. May God move the hearts of those in power who would start saving the lives of the Rohingyas and giving them a place to live.

[1] Ng, Eileen (25 May 2015). “Rohingya seek better life in Malaysia, but reality is stark”. The Washington Post.
[2] Southeast Asia: Persecuted Rohingya Refugees From Myanmar Suffer Horrific Abuses at Sea. Amnesty International. 2015-10-21.

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