Background on the Rohingya Crisis
When Rohingya insurgent group ARSA killed 12 security officers in Myanmar on 25 August 2017 the military mounted a bloody reprisal against Rohingya civilians – including women and children. In what the UN has termed a “textbook example of ethnic cleaning” the military perpetrated widespread war crimes against the Rohingya population using torture, rape, murder and enslavement as tools of war.
Within a month at least 6,700 people, 730 younger than five years old, had been murdered. Since then more than 280 Rohingya villages have been set ablaze and almost the entire Rohingya population of Myanmar – which exceeded one million people – has been forced to flee the country. UN calls for military leaders to be prosecuted for genocide and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court have received international backing, including from UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The attacks are just the latest in a series of military crackdowns directed against the persecuted minority group since the 1970s. Despite being an indigenous population, members of the Rohingya community are denied citizenship and prohibited from voting or submitting candidates for the country’s fledgling democratic elections.