Described as the world’s most persecuted people, 1.1 million Rohingya people live in Myanmar. They live predominately in Rakhine state, where they have co-existed uneasily alongside Buddhists for decades.Rohingya people say they are descendants of Muslims, perhaps Persian and Arab traders, who came to Myanmar generations ago. Unlike the Buddhist community, they speak a language similar to the Bengali dialect of Chittagong in Bangladesh.
The Rohingya are reviled by many in Myanmar as illegal immigrants and they suffer from systematic discrimination. The Myanmar government treats them as stateless people, denying them citizenship. Stringent restrictions have been placed on Rohingya people’s freedom of movement, access to medical assistance, education and other basic services.
Violence broke out in northern Rakhine state on 25 August, when militants attacked government forces. In response, security forces supported by Buddhist military launched a “clearance operation”. Refugees have spoken of massacres in villages, where they say soldiers raided and burned their homes. The government claims the Rohingya have burned their own homes and killed Buddhists and Hindus. It says that the military is targeting terrorists, including the Arakan RohingyaSalvation Army (Arsa), the group that claimed responsibility for the August attacks.
According to the most recently available data from the United Nations in May, more than 168,000 Rohingya have fledMyanmar since 2012.Following violence