A Long Journey. October 9, 2017. Thousands of Rohingya refugees fleeing from Myanmar walk along a muddy rice field after crossing the border in Palong Khali, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.
For years Buddhist majority Myanmar has struggled to deal with a deeply rooted hatred towards the Rohingya in western Rakhine state. The Muslim ethnic minority were always considered illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and denied the rights of citizenship. According to Human Rights Watch, the 1982 laws "effectively deny to the Rohingya the possibility of acquiring a nationality ”. Myanmar’s government also enforced severe restrictions on freedom of movement, state education and civil service jobs and health care. The refugee emergency unfolded in late August after an attack on state security forces by Rohingya insurgents, triggering a brutal military crackdown that has forced more than half of the country’s 1.1 million population fleeing to neighboring Bangladesh creating the fastest cross-border exodus ever witnessed with over 655,000 new arrivals. Many traumatized refugees arrived telling stories of horror alleging rape, killings and the burning of hundreds of villages, which have been well documented by the media, along with the U.N and various human rights groups.