More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar (also known as Burma) to Bangladesh since August 25. With about 300,000 Rohingya refugees already in Bangladesh, tens of thousands in hiding in northern parts of Rakhine State and about 100,000 detained in Internal Displacement Camps, the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has described this mass exodus as “the world fastest-developing refugee emergency and a humanitarian and human rights nightmare.”
Rohingya are an ethnic Muslim group who have lived for centuries in the majority Buddhist Myanmar.
Many Rohingya came to Myanmar from what is now Bangladesh during the British colonial period (1820s to 1940s) to expand rice cultivation in Rakhine State.
About 1 million Rohingya live in Myanmar, mostly in Rakhine State, making up some 2% of the country’s population and about 30% of the state’s population.
During the early hours of August 25, some 20 to 30 police posts were attacked in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung townships in the north of Rakhine State in Myanmar (also known as Burma). Twelve police were killed along with 16 attackers.
Responsibility for these attacks was later claimed by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).
In the two weeks since, the Myanmar military’s response has been brutal, widespread and indiscriminate. While accurate figures are not available, between 400 (military’s estimate), and “around a thousand” (United Nations estimate) Rohingya have been killed by the army.
Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) has won a crushing and historic victory in the November 8 election in Burma (also known as Myanmar).
Results were not final at the time of publication, but the NLD was on target to win more than 270 of the 330 elected seats (82%) in the People's Assembly, and more than 150 of the 168 elected seats (90%) in the House of Nationalities.
With elections due on November 8, a loud call for change in Myanmar (formerly Burma) can be heard in the streets.
All commentators predict victory for Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) over the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). Several factors, however, indicate it will not be a landslide.
Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, known throughout the country simply as “the lady”, came to political prominence in 1988 when she returned to Myanmar to support her ailing mother and became embroiled in the students' struggle against the military regime.
Campaigning kicked off on September 8 for the first competitive elections in Myanmar (Burma) since the 1950s. The November 8 poll will pit the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) against more than 100 opposition parties, including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD).
Myanmar’s military ceded power to a quasi-civilian government through 2010 elections that were boycotted by the NLD, ending a military dictatorship that spanned from 1962.