Skip to main content

MSF and the Rohingya 1992-2014

+ 1 more
Publication date
View original

The Rohingya people live in northern Rakhine state (formerly Arakan), located in western coastal Union of Myanmar (formerly Union of Burma) bordering Bangladesh to the north. The stateless Rohingya are predominately an IndoAryan Muslim minority, in a majority-Buddhist country.

Their origins are controversial. Historians attest to Rohingya presence in Myanmar since the eighth century. Those who oppose Rohingya citizenship in the Myanmar nation consider that they migrated from East Bengal at the time of British colonisation. However, Rohingya citizenship has always been contested, often violently. These contestations come from both the ruling parties and the population, particularly from majority non-Rohingya neighbours in Rakhine state.

Since the late 70s, the Rohingya have fled persecution and violence to seek refuge in Bangladesh. Although population figures are unknown, an estimated 900,000 Rohingya currently reside in Bangladesh, leaving approximately 600,000 in Myanmar.