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Rohingya flee Rakhine State

Tens of thousands of people have fled violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in fear of killings, rape and even massacres.

 

The Rohingya are the world’s largest stateless community and one of its most persecuted minorities.

Using a dialect similar to that spoken in Chittagong in southeast Bangladesh, the Sunni Muslims are loathed by many in majority-Buddhist Myanmar who see them as illegal immigrants and call them “Bengali” – even though many have lived in Myanmar for generations.

They are not officially recognised as an ethnic group, partly due to a 1982 law stipulating that minorities must prove they lived in Myanmar prior to 1823 – before the first Anglo-Burmese war – to obtain nationality.

Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has faced widespread criticism for her stance on the Rohingya.

Her administration has dismissed concerns about rights abuses and refused to grant visas to UN officials tasked with investigating such allegations.

This week she said sympathy for the Rohingya was being generated by a“huge iceberg of misinformation”.

Analysts say Suu Kyi is hampered by the politically incendiary nature of the issue in Myanmar and the fact she has little control over the military.

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