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Who Are Rohingyas And Their Plights?

Who are the Rohingyas? Their Situation in Arakan & in Exile


The Arakan State of Burma, bordering Bangladesh, is inhabited by two ethnic sister communities, the Rakhine Buddhist and the Rohingya Muslim. The Rakhine Buddhists are the majority group while the Rohingya Muslims are minority group.

The Rohingyas numbering approximately 1.5 million, enduring continued persecution and the ethnic cleansing policy of military regime in Burma. Also about 1.5 million Rohingyas have been living in exile in many countries all over the world. The Rohingyas in Burma continue to suffer from several forms of restrictions and human rights violations. The Rohingyas freedom of movement is severely restricted and right to education is harshly deprived.

The Rohingyas have effectively been denied Burmese citizenship by the current State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) military regime, although the previous Democratically elected governments had recognized them as the citizens of Burma. They are also subjected to various forms of extortion and arbitrary taxation; land confiscation, forced eviction and house destruction and restrictions on marriage.

Arakan was neither a part of Burma nor Bangladesh, it was a separated region and ruled by Muslilms for hundreds years. The last dynasty of Arakan was the Mrauk Oo dynasty which ruled from 15th to 18th century. It was highly influenced by Muslim culture. The official language was Persian, the written language of Muslims of that time. The basis of Muslim religious faith, the kalima was inscribed on all of the coins.

Almost all kings had Muslim titles. Courteous, arm forces and personnel in many other fields were almost all Muslims. So Rohingya Muslims are not migrant people as is accused today by the military government of Burma. They are natives of that region of Burma.

The colonial British census records in 1825 A.D show one Muslim for every two Buddhists in Arakan. The year 1825 is a landmark in the history of Burma. All of Burma’s constitution and citizenship acts provide indigenous status to all people who were permanently residing in Arakan or in the Union of Burma before 1825.

So, above mentioned Muslims prior 1825 (before British occupation of Burma) were counted as one of the lawfully indigenous race’s of Burma. But, today the military regime is blindly denying historical reality and accusing all Rohingyas as to be Bangladeshi illegal immigrants. It is a deliberate conspiracy on the part of military government to make Rohingyas stateless.

Until the advent of the military regime, Rohingyas have enjoyed full fledge Burmese citizenship. There have been foreigner’s acts and foreigner’s Registration Rules.