Understanding the crimes against the Rohingya

Rohingya Refugee Camp in Cox’s Bazar

Event details

PhD Seminar

Date & time

Thursday 28 February 2019
11.00am–12.30pm

Venue

Basham Room (Baldessin Precinct Building)

Speaker

M Mizanur Rahman

Contacts

M Mizanur Rahman

The Rohingya in the Rakhine state of Myanmar have been subject to state-sponsored atrocity crimes in the last decades. Although the crime against the Rohingya has been acknowledged as a crime against humanity, ‘a textbook example of ethnic cleansing’ and a war crime, by different scholars and human rights organizations, academic scholarships largely overlook the possibility of defining this as genocide. This paper aims to understand the plight of the Rohingya as a coordinated social practice of genocide, from a social science perspective.

The study uses data collected through some unstructured and semi-structured interviews conducted with the Rohingya living in the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar and secondary sources like relevant scholarly literature and reports from the human rights organizations. Looking deeply into the military crackdown of the Rohingya in August 2017 and similar historical incidents, this study finds that the collaborative efforts of the Burmese military and local Rakhine Buddhists have set the ground for destroying the Rohingya as an ethnic group. Majority of the young male members of this group have been arbitrarily labeled as terrorists; and as a result, are arrested, tortured and killed in a targeted way. Moreover, the Rohingya as a community have been imposed with unwritten restrictions barring them from marriage, childbirth, accessing education and health services and income-generating activities.

The Rohingya women have also been victims of widespread incidents of rape and humiliation in public place, which severely damages their self-esteem and life-spirit. It argues that with state sponsorship, a genocidal society has been created and nurtured in Rakhine state over the last few decades, which has destroyed the social thread and victimized the Rohingya.

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