The Forgotten Refugees Of Myanmar

October 6, 2017 Asia , HUMAN RIGHTS , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

Reuters photo



Zeeshan A. Shah


We are living in the age of democracy, modernization, freedom of speech and liberation. Yet some parts of the world have succumbed to tyranny, injustice, rage and disorder with the world looking the other way. The refugee crisis persists as an ancient curse that never seems to let go of the people who face it. Myanmar today stands out as the ugly mark on this planet that professes the good, the right and the just – though in reality refuses to abide by any single standard of good governance and just cause.

Countless UN decisions have been sanctioned on countries violating treaties, agreements and diplomatic arrangements however; respect for life and humanity has been ignored with blatant ease and comfort by the law abiding governments who claim to work for the interests of the people who vote them in. Clearly, freedom and life is at stake in the world of today.

For the Rohingya Muslim community, the nightmare has not ended. Shunned by the developed nations of today and abandoned by communities, country and state, the innocent and poor minority of people have suffered extreme torture and barbarism at the hands of the government of Myanmar. More than half of the Rohingya people who fled the country include hundreds of children without family members, putting themselves in extreme risk of food, water and shelter, as they throng the muddy waters of borderline Bangladesh, where the state armed forces have release a crackdown initiative banning people from entering their borders. On one hand, they are being mercilessly killed in the name of democracy and equality. On the other hand, they are not getting any relief or support from any of the Muslim nations who can come to their aid and help them survive this exodus.

According to UN estimates, over 50,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine. Camps are overcrowded as the scale of influx is tremendously high with severe rain and muddy weather conditions surrounding the ordeal. Over 1,267 children are orphaned in camps without food and water and without their parents as they were separated from their families. The unaccompanied children are at extreme risk of child abuse, sexual exploitation and child marriage. In all, over 230,000 children are among over 400,000 Rohingya Muslims that are in need of emergency care.

There is an absolute need for increased relief and rehabilitation support from the global community and Human Right Organizations need to be more proactive in reporting atrocities that are being ignored and conveniently forgotten. In particular, UNICEF has been working actively to help ease the pain of the community of endangered human beings. Creating over 41 child friendly spaces, where the agency maintains a constant check on children’s wellbeing, provision of food and shelter, health and psychological counseling and general care and concern. Over 20,000 children have received support through child-friendly zones while many others pouring in for help still need help on a critical basis.

Over two thirds of the refugees are women and children with over 13% pregnant or breast-feeding. These numbers are likely to grow further as the world watches collectively with less than expected aid coming from the key stakeholders including the EU and USA. The course of action still needs to be determined on how to salvage an affordable and manageable solution to ensure that this minor Muslim community in the vast majority Buddhist nation, can be saved. What we see today is a visible example of an illegal crackdown and massacre of an innocent race of people who have been deprived of citizenship rights, confirmed to villages with no freedom to travel and work for a living.


Military and Buddhist vigilantes have burned down their villages, places of worship and pathways, killing citizens in the most unjust bloody war that we have seen in recent history. In recent weeks, civilians have been killed alongside the Myanmar-Bangladesh borders by landmines placed across the frontiers, leading to many recent killings by the state of Myanmar. According to the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights: “this is classic textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” The world community today is demanding the removal of the Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar and has called on the removal of her Nobel Prize status she currently holds. Yet, more needs to be done in actual reality than just a protest by lawmakers. Instead, laws need to be implemented to secure justice for the poor by the warmongering state of Myanmar.

Shockingly, some of the major world nations are behind this, providing support to this rogue government, who claim that the Rohginya are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh but now where has it been that illegal immigrants are butchered. On the contrary, this community has been settled in the country for generations which hardly qualifies them as “illegal”.

The world community today is still not determined to collectively impose punishment on this country of tyrants who have been involved in massive violations of human and child rights. Journalists and human rights activists have been barred from entering Rakhine province where Buddhist freaks are burning down villages and killing Muslims on sight. Over 62 villages have been targeted by arson since August 25th. The Burmese military of Myanmar is directly responsible for the mass burnings of Rohnigya villages in Northern Rakhine State. The lack of access has resulted in human rights groups working harder to get accurate data and relying on satellite data and testimony from people who escaped after suffering, to document the state of destruction that has ravaged this country.

We are constantly in need of a reminder – to save lives. Sad as it seems, we must have forgotten our duty to other human beings, to help them in times of dire consequences as part of our collective human gene. Lack of adherence to laws is punishable in any state or form. Rogue armies like in Burma must be stopped before this menace and poison of racism and radicalism spreads across to other countries.

The UNSC must wake up and take a decision on the fate of this nation and its people as the world watches in endless shame. We must stop the bleeding and we must save the children of Rohingya in the name of God.





Zeeshan A. Shah

The writer is a Director at CNNA Pakistan – a leading advocacy institute and is an expert on International Relations and Education Policy.

With over 150 publications in major local and global social media & newspapers, he has been instrumental in producing over 5000 radio broadcasts aired globally.

A thought leader, environmental journalist, media broadcaster and a change maker with an acute focus on development affairs & education for Pakistan.

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