Why Thousands of Rohingya People Are Risking Their Lives to Leave Myanmar

Thousands of men, women and children from a minority group in Myanmar called the Rohingya are desperate enough to risk death and slavery to escape the country as refugees in search of a better life.

Interested in ?

Add as an interest to stay up to date on the latest news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

“It is so bad here that the best option is to face death, torture or abuses at sea or in Thailand just to escape,” Matt Smith, an activist and founder of Fortify Rights, told ABC News’ Bob Woodruff.

Smith and his team have been documenting abuses in Myanmar for several years. To see what the Rohingya people face, Woodruff traveled for ABC News’ “Nightline” with Smith to northern Myanmar, where most of the Rohingya population of just over 1 million people lives.

Christine Romo/ABC News
A young Rohingya boy in the refugee camp using rainwater to rinse dishes.
Christine Romo/ABC News
Young Rohingya children wave to the camera at a refugee camp outside of Sittwe, Myanmar.

“There has been systematic human rights violations committed against the Rohingya Muslim population for decades,” said Smith. “Population control measures are in place, attempts to prevent birth, restrictions on freedom of movement, forced labor is common.”

The Rohingya were stripped of their citizenship in 1982, but the latest bout of repression began in 2012, when rising tensions between the ethnically Muslim group and Buddhist communities were incited by U Wirathu, leading to violent clashes.

U Wirathu is a Buddhist monk who has been called the “Burmese [Osama] Bin Laden” and actively preaches against the Rohingya minority. During the clashes, entire Rohingya neighborhoods were burned to the ground, and more than 140,000 Rohingya were forced to move into oppressive camps on the outskirts of Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine state.

Christine Romo/ABC News
A young Rohingya girl living in a refugee camp outside of Sittwe, Myanmar, wears Thanakha on her face to protect her skin.
Christine Romo/ABC News
ABC News’ Bob Woodruff and Fortify Rights’ Matthew Smith are pictured together with Rohingya children inside the refugee camps.

The camps have been called the world’s largest outdoor prison, where Rohingya movements are highly restricted. Police guard the few exits. They can’t leave the camps to attend school, work or seek medical care. Children who are born in the camps are not issued birth certificates and are stateless.

“All of the people here were essentially burned out of…

Read the full article from the Source…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *