Rohingya Identity Reclamation Project
Advocating for safe repatriation, reclamation of land, and citizenship of Rohingya ethnic group in homeland of Rakhine state, Myanmar from current refugee status in Cox’s Bazar Bangladesh.
The Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar, one of 136 national ethnic groups, but the only one to be ignored by the government, have been subjected to decades of state sponsored violence, and now genocide. They were pushed out of their homes in Rakhine state, northwest Myanmar, starting in early 2017 and continuing to this day. Nearly 200,000 have been brutally murdered and another 1,000,000 Rohingya have been forcefully expelled and taken refuge in neighboring Bangladesh due to risk of death at the hands of the Tatmadaw Myanmar military who have raped, pillaged, and plundered their villages, with subsequent redistribution of their ancestral lands to Buddhist Rakhine citizens who they also paid to commit these atrocities on their behalf.
While the UN works to have these crimes against humanity recognized as genocide by the international community, the Rohingya fester in makeshift refugee camps in southern Bangladesh that are situated on hills prone to mudslides and further deathly disaster during their torrential rainy season. Food is scarce, and water is dirty. Children are not receiving proper education, and adults have no access to proper jobs and wages, as Bangladesh refuses to incorporate them into their society, which is already severely overpopulated with high rates of unemployment. They are stateless and they are trapped. But while the international community is now fully aware of their plight, these issues did not arise recently. They began decades earlier in 1982 when the government passed the Burmese Citizenship Law that removed their rights to citizenship, proper identification cards, passports and ability to travel, university education, and much more. Further violence in the early 1990’s and early 2010’s resulted in segregation of the Rohingya to internally displaced camps outside the cities that the military patrolled intensively, assuring their lack of access to marketplaces, schools, and all other infrastructure that represented their previous homes. While they refer to themselves as Rohingyas, the rest of the Burmese consider this a false and offensive term, referring to them as illegal immigrant Bengalis.
The Rohingya can produce identification cards from decades ago and show evidence that they have lived in Myanmar for generations, evidence that would overrule the false claims of their immigrant status and delegitimize much of the Myanmar military and government’s case of self defense against aggressive intruders from a foreign land. While the Bangladeshi government attempts to find a way to forcefully send them back home to certain death, or to an island off their coast prone to overcrowding and annual flooding, and the Myanmar government postures against the international community regarding their national behavior and desire to reincorporate the Rohingya peacefully as long as they ‘reciprocate’ the peace, the people suffer in a limbo zone of uncertainty and fear.
The only way we can help the Rohingya people obtain the justice they deserve is to reclaim their identity. The identity that was stolen from them unlawfully. We will attempt to do this by traveling to the Bangladeshi refugee camps and conducting interviews of the people to determine their status, through identification cards, family trees, oral history, photo evidence, etc. After accumulating all data, we will present this data to the United Nations with the intent of deconstructing the false narrative perpetuated by years of state sponsored propaganda of the Myanmar military and bringing those guilty of these crimes to justice. Everybody deserves to have their name. Let’s get theirs back.
We are currently in talks with senior members of the Rohingya community in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar Bangladesh regarding how to proceed forward with addressing their concerns and achieving our mission for justice for the Rohingya people.
We are not accepting volunteers currently due to the on hold status of the project during the pandemic.
The project is currently on hold, secondary to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions.
We are still in talks with senior members of the Rohingya community in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar Bangladesh regarding how to proceed forward as the pandemic loosens, regarding addressing their concerns and achieving our mission for justice for the Rohingya people
With your help and donations, we can make a difference