Reporters have warned about the mistreatment of the Rohingya Muslim community in Myanmar for several years. Those tensions have erupted in a full blown refugee crisis in recent days. Worldwide, we are experiencing a record number of displaced people. In June 2017 UNHCR, the United Nation’s Refugee Agency explained that:
65.6 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide at the end of 2016 – a total bigger than the population of the United Kingdom and about 300,000 more than last year.It noted that the pace at which people are becoming displaced remains very high. On average, 20 people were driven from their homes every minute last year, or one every three seconds – less than the time it takes to read this sentence.
Since the dawn of the millennium, the world has been witnessing a rapid rise in the numbers of a plurality of migrants —involuntary, internal or international, authorized or unauthorized, environmental refugees, and victims of human trafficking. These flows have intensified under the ascendancy of globalization, growing inequality, collapsing states, war and terror, and climate change. Catastrophic migrations pose new international risks to millions of migrants and challenge the institutions of sending, transiting, and receiving nations. Worldwide, civil and ethnic wars, structural violence, environmental cataclysms, and growing inequality are behind the largest displacement of people since World War II. Of the over 60 million forcefully displaced, half are children.
It is within this context that 370,000 thousand Rohingya Muslim refugees have fled violence in Myanmar into neighboring Bangladesh. The situation raises several challenging questions for individuals, groups, and nations around the world. Including:
- What is our responsibility when we hear stories of groups being persecuted across the world?
- When does the situation within one country become an international concern?
- What, if anything, could people have done differently to prevent the crisis?
- What is the relationship between prejudices and the way people respond to human rights crisis?
We have curated a selection of resources to familiarize yourself with the Rohingya Refugee Crisis and introduce it as a current event for your students.
- New York Times, The Daily, September 14, 2017: “What Is Happening in Myanmar?
- CNN, September 13, 2017: “UN chief calls Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis ‘catastrophic’ as Security Council condemns violence.”
- CNN, September 5, 2017: “Who are the Rohingya and why are they fleeing?”
- The Guardian, September 11, 2017: “Myanmar treatment of Rohingya looks like ‘textbook ethnic cleansing,’ says UN.”
- Brookings Institute, September 13, 2017: No simple solution to the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar
Please let us know how you use these resources with your students.