ANKARA /DHAKA, Bangladesh

Three years on, the Rohingya Muslim minority on Tuesday will commemorate the crackdown by Myanmar’s military forces which drove away hundreds of thousands from their lands.

The crackdown in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state which began on Aug. 25, 2017, saw the rampant displacement, killings and rape of the world’s most persecuted community triggering an international outcry.

In the face of the pandemic, campaigns to raise awareness about their plight will be held online.

“Rohingyas and those who stand in solidarity with them, will mark the 3rd anniversary of Myanmar’s genocide, in the first-ever worldwide multilingual online rally,” said the Free Rohingya Coalition, a global network of activists, in a statement on Friday.

“The event will bring together more than four dozen international supporters including UN officials, human rights activists, genocide scholars, international law experts, and concerned journalists from all continents.

“They will join Rohingya survivors and refugees to memorialize and honor the thousands of victims slaughtered, raped, and tortured in the violent purge by Myanmar government troops, that began on 25th August 2017,” it added.

Return with dignity

Meanwhile, Rohingya people as well as rights organizations across the globe have urged Myanmar authorities to ensure a conducive environment in the country’s Rakhine state so that the persecuted people, who have taken shelter in different countries largely in neighboring Bangladesh, can return to their homeland with safety and dignity.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a statement issued on Monday urged Myanmar authorities to accept an international solution that provides for the safe, dignified and voluntary return of Rohingya refugees.

“To demonstrate compliance with the order and readiness for Rohingya to return, the Myanmar government should amend the [1982] citizenship law in line with international standards,” it added.

Pointing to the discriminatory attitude toward 600,000 Rohingya still living in Rakhine state, the rights group added: “The authorities should immediately lift restrictions on freedom of movement, repeal discriminatory regulations and local orders, and cease all official and unofficial practices that restrict their [Rohingya] movement and livelihoods, such as arbitrary roadblocks and extortion systems.”

Discrimination in camps

The rights watchdog praised Bangladesh for hosting more than one million Rohingya.

But due to some measures implemented by the host country Rohingya have been facing troubles, the statement said.

“Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh have faced tightened restrictions on rights to information, movement, access to education, and health, and have been unlawfully killed by Bangladeshi security forces.”

After a peaceful demonstration in Kutapulong camp in Bangladesh by Rohingya in August 2019 to commemorate “Rohingya genocide awareness day,” Bangladeshi authorities shut off all internet access in the refugee camps, directed mobile phone carrier companies to stop selling SIM cards to Rohingya, and confiscated thousands of SIM cards from them.

Meanwhile, Rohingya rights body, Rohingya Youth Association (RYA), in a statement on Monday declared Aug. 25 as “Rohingya Genocide Remembrance Day”.

“Today we remember and honor all those Rohingya men, women and children who have been killed as a result of the genocide violence perpetrated and led by Myanmar’s security forces.”

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