This month marks the three year anniversary of the mass genocidal expulsion of the Rohingya people from their homeland. However, this atrocity is not one of the past.
The Burmese military has a monopoly on political power, and it operates as a fascist organization—their grand strategy is to transform all ethnic minorities into Burman under the banner of union.
To this day, Burmese authorities continue to destroy Rohingya villages to make room for military bases, security posts, and massive IDP camps. Discriminatory policies in Burma have not changed since the mass expulsion.
Lacking the restoration of their citizenship, Rohingya continue to face severe movement restrictions, as well as little access to education, healthcare, and employment. Moreover, increased fighting between the Arakan and Burmese armies has further put Rohingya at risk.
Access to journalists and humanitarian agencies has long been severely restricted, and an internet shutdown has been in place in parts of Rakhine and Chin states since June 2019. While the COVID 19 contagion steadily increases, this mass displacement increases the risk of hunger and mass fatalities. Moreover, the rainy season has begun.
We cannot trust government claims that a “pathway to citizenship” will restore Rohingya rights; hierarchical systems of ID cards have been designed to divide and control the population, not integrate it as part of a pluralistic society. We cannot trust an organization whose grand strategy is genocide.
The Rohingya have suffered greatly, as other ethnic groups in Burma have before them. We call on the world to commit to constructive solutions, not merely repatriation theater driven by political considerations.