Thursday, July 9, 2015

Finally: a new article on the Rohingya—and in the New York Times no less

Just when I was giving up hope that the story of the Rohingya would be forgotten by most of the world press after a month of good publicity, a great story comes out in the Times (July 5) called A Migrant Mother’s
Anguished Choice.”  Read it here; it will give you nightmares.

There is also a good map of the route that refugees take from Myanmar; most end up in Malaysia but many, as we know, have arrived in Aceh, and on the map you can see why.

A July 4 Forbes article, “Do Myanmar’s Rohingya really need citizenship now?” reiterates what I’ve been saying about the Aceh people’s willingness to help the refugees: “The Bangladeshis and Rohingya couldn’t have chosen a better place to end up than Aceh, by the way. The welcome by the Acehnese people and Indonesian health services couldn’t be warmer; the Acehnese may even end up inviting the 900-plus Rohingya men, women and children to stay permanently; the approximately 900 Bangladeshis, all men, will be sent home.” [As explained in a previous post, this is because the refugees from Bangladesh are not considered to be in danger; rather they are seeking economic betterment outside Bangladesh.]

Also of note is JMD Board member Lilianne Fan, research fellow with the Humanitarian Policy Group of Britain’s Overseas Development Institute (ODI), being interviewed for this article regarding the perception of many in Myanmar (including other oppressed minorities) that the Rohingya are not citizens and are “coming in and taking their jobs and land.”  In order to address this, as well as the immediate crisis, “We have to shift the narrative a little bit to, “The Rohingya are people like us. We’re all part of this complex history.”


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