This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Are We Witnessing Ethnic Cleansing in Myanmar?

A few days ago I blogged about the flood of Muslim Rohingya refugees out of Myanmar (Burma) into Bangladesh. Since then there has a been a storm surge of refugees--more than 370,000 according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. At issue is the fact that these people are seemingly not wanted in Myanmar, despite having lived there for a long time. The Guardian reminds us that:
Rohingya people have been systematically persecuted for decades by the Burmese government, which, contrary to historical evidence, regards them as illegal migrants from Bangladesh and restricts their citizenship rights and access to government services.
Myanmar’s treatment of its Muslim Rohingya minority appears to be a “textbook example” of ethnic cleansing, the top United Nations human rights official has said. In an address to the UN human rights council in Geneva, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein denounced the “brutal security operation” against the Rohingya in Rakhine state, which he said was “clearly disproportionate” to insurgent attacks carried out last month.
And he wasn't the only one with this sentiment:
On Sunday, Bangladesh’s foreign minister accused the Myanmar government of committing genocide against the Rohingya. Analysts said that AH Mahmood Ali’s language was the strongest yet from Myanmar’s neighbour, and reflected intense frustration in Dhaka at the continuing influx of Rohingya refugees.
In the meantime, Myanmar's de facto leader (and that "title" tells you something about the state of the country), Aung San Suu Kyi, has canceled her trip to the United Nations' General Assembly meetings next week in New York.

On the other hand, India had been set to deport thousands of Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar, but has announced instead that it will send relief materials to Bangladesh to help that country deal with a problem that nobody really seems to want to deal with.

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