The Rohingya Refugee: Past, Genocide, Future
In August 2017, the Myanmar military commenced a brutal pogrom of the Rohingya minority in Rakhine State, Myanmar. The genocidal campaign marked the most recent and decisive of a series of ethnic cleansing efforts fueled by contention around race, religion, and national identity. Yet the violence came as a shock to the international world, who had watched Myanmar emerge out of a decades-long oppressive military dictatorship into an economically and socially liberalizing democracy in recent years.
Within three months, neighboring Bangladesh found themselves the home of 750,000 Rohingya who had fled across the border. A developing nation of 165 million, it struggled to allocate resources to what became the largest refugee camp in the world. As the Myanmar government navigated international outcry against and domestic support for the violence, Bangladesh navigated its next steps: should it allow the refugees to remain, or should they send them back? And what role did international actors, many of whom had economic stakes within Myanmar, play in this humanitarian crisis?