Whether it’s on the phone, on our Facebook page or through email – we’ve been thrilled to see how many of you want to learn and understand more about one of the world’s largest refugee crises. So here’s the Top 6 questions you’ve been asking and the answers to go with them.

Got some more questions? Please let us know on 0800 800 777.


How did the Rohingya refugee crisis happen?

The Rohingya people are called ‘stateless’ and have been living in a small part of Myanmar called Rakine State for generations. It is there they feel they have suffered dehumanizing oppression. In August 2017 a group called the ARSA (Rohingya insurgents) were involved in brutal and bloody attacks on the Myanmar military in an attempt to liberate themselves. Despite the fact that they’d been forced to live under apartheid-like conditions, the actions of ARSA are inexcusbale. The Burmese military responded with equal brutality and violence against the Rohingya people. Their actions are also inexcusable. The victims in all this are the many many MANY innocent children, women, and men caught up in this violence, be it families torn apart because of the violence of the ARSA, or families torn apart because of the violence of the Burmese military.


What’s the long term outlook for these refugees? Will they have to live there for years?

There are two long term outlooks for these refugees: One is to ultimately return back to Myanmar, and the other is to remain in Cox's Bazar indefinitely. The first option is what most of the refugees want and that’s what the Bangladesh government want. Sadly, that’s not looking very likely at the moment because the Myanmar government does not want to recognize the Rohingya people as citizens and Bangladesh does not want to recognize the Rohingya people as refugees. So right now, they’re stuck in ‘no man’s land’. Despite the fact that a resolution was made to return about 700,000 Rohingya people, none of them want to go because the conditions on return are akin to living in a prison camp.

At Tearfund we believe that the best possible solution would be for these refugees to be given a safe, voluntary and dignified re-entry into Myanamar with the full rights of citizens being given as they cross over the border. But given the U.N. has accused military leaders in Myanmar of acts of genocide, we need to ensure the Rohingya can return safely, and with dignity, before sending anyone back across the border. Failing that, we would hope that the Rohingya people would be given full rights as refugees in Bangladesh with the opportunity to stay there longer term and find a job.


What have you found most surprising about the situation?

The most surprising thing I’ve seen is how the Rohingya people have gone through so much unspeakable violence and trauma and yet are still standing. The resiliency of these people is astounding.

I stand in awe at how brave, strong and resourceful these people are. The hardest thing for me to see on my latest visit is how this crisis is far from over. People really are in a desperate state and we need to stay with them, to keep caring. These people are not allowed to build a permanent home, not allowed to work, not allowed to send their children to high school, not allowed to even leave the camps. If they choose to go back to Myanmar, the persecution would most certainly continue.


I'm a bit concerned with this story of them being relocated to an island in the Bay of Bengal. It seems a very flood and storm prone place for so many children.

Yes, so are we. It’s a ridiculous idea and one the wider international community does not endorse. We seriously doubt this will be a viable option.


It's always good to know and see where the giving is going and how effective it is. Where are the donations you receive going?

Tearfund is working with our local partners on the ground to provide language classes, vocational training, nutrition support, youth clubs and psychosocial support. Despite unbelievably difficult odds, two things give me hope. The incredible determination and resilience of the Rohingya people and the growing community of Tearfund supporters getting stirred up to stand with these people. Please consider making a donation to help this critical work continue.


I want to educate myself more on this Rohingya Crisis? Can you recommend any links?

Yes, we can! In August for the one year anniversary, we took TV3’s Michael Morrah and a cameraman to file some stories about what life is like for these people. You can view all five of those stories by clicking on the links below:



Helen Manson in Iraq huddled amongst a group of children
Helen Manson is a Tearfund Field Communications Specialist.


Related posts

Coronavirus and hunger will adversely impact poor children NZ aid agencies warn

Coronavirus and hunger will adversely impact poor children NZ aid agencies warn

Tuesday, 14 July 2020 — Tearfund New Zealand

Thirteen NZ aid organisations are warning that children in low-income countries will be the most affected by the global pandemic and hunger, and they are encouraging Kiwis to help resource their global neighbours to deal effectively with the situation. The release today of The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World by the UN has prompted the call to action.
 

Read more

What our partners have been doing globally during Covid-19

What our partners have been doing globally during Covid-19

Tuesday, 30 June 2020 — Rachel Vince

In New Zealand we are fortunate to have the healthcare we need to get through a pandemic like Covid-19. Other places around the globe are not. Because of the generous support of Kiwis like you we've been able to reach hundreds and thousands of vulnerable people. 
 

Read more

My experience living in a refugee camp – “I still get nightmares”

My experience living in a refugee camp – “I still get nightmares”

Monday, 22 June 2020 — Rafique-Rohingya Refugee

Read the first-hand account of a former Rohingya refugee who lived in a refugee camp for 18 years. In 1991, Rafique, his parents and his baby sister, fled Myanmar with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They now live peacefully in New Zealand but his experience still haunts him.
 

Read more

A Decade in Ethical Fashion

A Decade in Ethical Fashion

Wednesday, 20 May 2020 — Ally Turner

Think back 10 years and picture your wardrobe. Choker chains were back in business, cardigans had moved from your nana’s wardrobe to your own and jeggings were rearing their somewhat questionable head.  While those trends have come and gone, another trend that has been growing over that time has been towards ethics in the fashion industry. On day one of this series, Ally Turner from Baptist World Aid Australia is here to tell us more about what brought about that change... read on!
 

Read more

Covid 19 and Refugees – When Self-Isolation is a Privilege

Covid 19 and Refugees – When Self-Isolation is a Privilege

Tuesday, 07 April 2020 — Victoria Hanna

There are an estimated 1.7 billion people around the world are in isolation today. But what about the people that are unable to self-isolate? The homeless, the unwanted, the refugee. What will happen to them?

Read more

“They came suddenly, at night. It was a Friday.”

“They came suddenly, at night. It was a Friday.”

Thursday, 13 February 2020 — Medair

Rahim* always dreamt of becoming a doctor. As a child growing up in a small village in Rakhine State, in western Myanmar, he observed his uncle – a doctor – and decided he wanted to follow in his footsteps. However, Rahim and his family were forced to flee, leaving all their possessions behind due to the Rohingya crisis, and it seemed his dream of becoming a doctor was far from ever coming true.

Read more

A Biblical Lens on Mozambique

A Biblical Lens on Mozambique

Friday, 17 May 2019 — Sean du Toit

When disasters like the Mozambique cyclones strike, we can find ourselves feeling overwhelmed and disheartened by the scale of human suffering. Our Restore cause is based on the biblical belief that we are called to respond with compassion to those in need and that we have a duty to seek 'shalom' in this world. Often, this can seem like a discouraging and overwhelming mission – but we believe that we are called to work towards the redemption of this world here and now. We also believe that ultimately, we will see redemption completed through Jesus.

Read more

Show more