Speed Reads

Rohingya Crisis

The Rohingya refugee crisis is 1 year old with no end in sight

One year has passed since government troops in Myanmar executed a massacre in villages populated by the Rohingya people, a stateless, majority-Muslim ethnic group.

More than 700,000 Rohingya survivors, mostly women and children, have since made a dangerous border crossing to seek safety in neighboring Bangladesh. They have formed the world's largest refugee camp near the Bangladeshi city of Cox's Bazar, living in makeshift structures often built of bamboo and tarps.

Relief aid remains grossly inadequate, and it is unclear how long the Rohingya will be permitted to stay in Bangladesh — or where else they may flee to avoid returning to Myanmar, which many refuse to countenance. "I don't expect they will let us stay here very much longer," a Rohingya refugee named Begum told NPR, "but I would rather die than go back there. I would rather drink poison than go back to Myanmar."

Like many of her fellow survivors, Begum lost dozens of family members to the slaughter in Myanmar. Her husband, infant boy, and 5-year-old son were all brutally murdered in front of her, and Begum herself was gang raped. She and her 10-year-old daughter eventually pretended to be dead and then escaped to Bangladesh, where Begum was hospitalized for three months for her injuries.

Read more about the persecution of the Rohingya here at The Week.