bengal bay

BAY OF BENGAL (April 14, 2012) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) transit in formation with Indian navy ships during Exercise Malabar 2012. Carl Vinson, Bunker Hill, and Halsey are part of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1, and are participating in the annual bi-lateral naval field training exercise with the Indian navy to advance multinational maritime relationships and mutual security issues. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans/Released)

4

The Most Dangerous Island on Earth - North Sentinel Island

Throughout human history a typical theme has been the domination of more technologically advanced societies over “simpler” or “more primitive” ones. In fact in the past 500 years, European societies would come to dominate the world, spreading their culture, often through force of arms or outright genocide.  More often than not, the meeting of Old World peoples with New World natives tended to end very badly for the natives. Many cultures were wiped out, many more assimilated or adapted their cultures with European culture. Today there are few places where people living have not in some way been touched by the modern world. One notable exception is North Sentinel Island, located in the Bay of Bengal.

Officially North Sentinel Island is territory of India, part of the Andaman Islands. In reality the people of North Sentinel Island are their own people, free from any known government or modern organization.  Apparently, the Sentinelese are very much happy to keep it that way. Throughout their entire known history, the Sentinelese have been known to viciously fight against any trespass or incursion on their small island. Going back to ancient times the Indians called the island “Cannibal Island”, and told many tales of the dangerous and ruthless natives who inhabited it. Those tales were passed on to the ancient Greeks after the invasion of northern India by Alexander the Great, and thus the infamous legends of the island were mention by Ptolemy. Marco Polo recieved word of the island during his travels to China, writing about the islanders, “They are a most violent and cruel generation who seem to eat everybody they catch.” 

Since then, every expedition to island has been met with extreme hostility, and as a result the island has been left untouched to this day. Throughout the 16th-18th centuries many an explorer or shipwrecked sailor met their end on the island at the hands of the Sentinelese. In 1867 a British merchant ship shipwrecked on the island, and its surviivg 110 man crew spent several days fighting off the islanders with guns and swords. Many were killed and wounded in the battle before rescue. This prompted an expedition of reprisal by the Royal Navy who landed marines on the island a short time later. Most of the Sentinelese had disappeared into hiding, knowing that they couldn’t fight a battle against such overwhelming force. In the end the British left in frustration with two elderly Sentinelese and four children.

Today the idea of angry natives attacking shipwrecked sailors or explorers might be something you’d only see in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie, however Sentinelese resistance to the outside world continued so that even in the 20th century people tended to steer clear of the island. In 1974 a film crew from National Geographic landed on the island in modern boats in an attempt to make contact with the islanders with peace offerings of a box of coconuts, a baby doll, and a live pig. The Sentinelese met the crew fully armed and ready for war. As a result, a the National Geographic director took an arrow to the knee, the pig was mutilated alive, and the crew was forced to bug out under a hail of arrows and spears. 

In 1981 the cargo ship Primrose shipwrecked on the island, and the Sentinelese immediately surrounded the ship, shooting at the crew with bows and several times attempting to board the ship. The crew not only radioed for help, but asked for an urgent airdrop of firearms so they could defend themselves. The drop was delayed by weather but the crew were able to fend off the attacks with a pistol, firefighting axes, and flare guns. They were rescued after a week long siege. The Sentinelese dismantled much of the ship and used the scrap iron for arrow and spearheads. It’s remaining hull can still be seen from google earth.

The only known man to peacefully visit the island was an anthropologist named Trilokinath Prandit in 1991, who several times landed on the island with gifts which he left upon the beach.  When he did meet the natives they shot arrows at him and waved their genitals at him. However at one point he was able to make peaceful contact with some of the natives. However as as he left the island, the natives had a change of heart and began shooting arrows at him once more, he hasn’t been back since.

Today North Sentinelese Island is protected by the Indian Government and it is illegal to land there. The reasons for this are to keep the Sentinelese culture intact, and prevent the spread of disease from the island. Note that in history native peoples often suffered deadly diseases after making contact with newcomers. Another reason for creating a 3 mile exclusionary zone around the island is because in 2006 two drunk fisherman landed on the island and were murdered. Thus the Indian Government set up the contact ban to protect outsiders from the Sentinelese as much as protecting the Sentinelese from the outside world. In 2004 an Indian Coast Guard helicopter flew over the island to see if the Setinelese were OK after the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake, and to offer help if needed. The helicopter found that the Sentinelese were not only OK after the tsunami, but didn’t want anything any aid at all as they fired arrows at the helicopter.

 Today we still no nothing about the language, culture, and ethnicity of the Sentinelese Islanders. The only pictures we have of them are from the occasional illegal drone which buzzes over the island, and is typically met with a hail of arrows. It seems that despite seeing things such as ships, helicopters, and robotic drones, the Sentinelese don’t want fuck all to do with the modern world.

8

National Football League teams and their stadium (inspired by x)

As I walked past them in a restaurant, a couple, on what must have been a first or second date, flagged me down from their table. From their broad, eager smiles, I already knew what they wanted.

“We have a bet,” the woman explained. “He thinks you’re from South America,” she said, gesturing to her date. Her money was on Pakistan.

I am a dulce de leche-colored woman, browner still in the summer. Tallish, with large eyes the color of Coca-Cola. My hair winds into curls at the hint of rain clouds. My lips are brown. “Like the president’s,” someone noted once, trying somehow to square Barack Obama’s multiculti look with my own.

My ancestors hail from the southern part of India, on the Bay of Bengal, which I mention only because the sea once had a way of washing up all varieties of conquerors and marauders on our shores. Lineage is messy.

But in 2017 America, my particular jambalaya of “features” frequently has me mistaken for Ethiopian. Trinidadian. Colombian. African American. It depends on which city I’m in, what I am wearing and, more often than not, who is doing the asking.

Now here was this couple, both white, asking the question I increasingly stumble over.

What am I?

Just another dark-featured, dark-haired woman in a vast sea of immigrants’ kids, I want to tell them.

Or more simply, I am brown. Because the more brown America gets, the more mutable ethnicity — mine, others — is becoming.

Read more here: I am Indian American, and it’s 2017. But I still get asked “What are you?

Animals You Didn't Know Existed

1. The Dhole

The Dhole is a species of canid native to South and Southeast Asia. The dhole is a highly social animal, living in large clans which occasionally split up into small packs to hunt. It primarily preys on medium-sized ungulates, which it hunts by tiring them out in long chases, and kills by disemboweling them. Though fearful of humans, dhole packs are bold enough to attack large and dangerous animals such as wild boar, water buffalo, and even tigers.

2. The Babirusa 

Babirusa, meaning “Hog-deer”, are members of the pig family found in Wallacea, or specifically the Indonesian islands of Sulawesi, Togian, Sula and Buru. If a babirusa does not grind its tusks (achievable through regular activity), they will eventually keep growing so as to penetrate the animal’s own skull.

3. Pink Fairy Armadillo

The pink fairy armadillo is approximately 3.5-4.5 inches long, excluding the tail, and is pale rose or pink in color. It has the ability to bury itself completely in a matter of seconds if frightened. It is a nocturnal animal and it burrows small holes near ant colonies in dry soil, and feeds mainly on ants and ant larvae near its burrow. It uses large front claws to agitate the sand, allowing it to almost swim through the ground like it is water. It is torpedo-shaped, and has a shielded head and back.

4. The Fossa

The fossa is a cat-like, carnivorous mammal that is endemic to Madagascar. The fossa is the largest mammalian carnivore on the island of Madagascar and has been compared to a small cougar. It has semi-retractable claws and flexible ankles that allow it to climb up and down trees head-first, and also support jumping from tree to tree.

5. The Gerenuk

The gerenuk, also known as the Waller’s gazelle, is a long-necked species of antelope found in dry thorn bush scrub and desert in Eastern Africa. The word gerenuk comes from the Somali language, meaning “giraffe-necked”. Gerenuks have a relatively small head for their body, but their eyes and ears are proportionately large. Gerenuks seldom graze but browse on prickly bushes and trees, such as acacias. They can reach higher branches and twigs than other gazelles and antelope by standing erect on their rear legs and stretching their elongated necks.

6.Naked Mole Rat

This creature has a lot of characteristics that make it very important to human beings. For one it is resistant to cancer. They also live up to 28 years, which is unheard of in mammals of its size. It seemingly does not age much in those 28 years either. It remains “young, healthy and fully fertile for almost all its days, which for an elderly animal is equivalent to an 80-year-old woman having the biological make-up of someone 50 years younger.” The naked mole rat is used in both cancer research and the study of aging. Not only making it a bizarre creature, but an incredibly important creature as well.

7. Irrawaddy Dolphin 

The Irrawaddy dolphin is a species of oceanic dolphin found near sea coasts and in estuaries and rivers in parts of the Bay of Bengal and Southeast Asia. Genetically, the Irrawaddy dolphin is closely related to the killer whale.

8. Markhor

The markhor is a large species of wild goat that is found in northeastern Afghanistan and Pakistan. The species is classed by the IUCN as Endangered, as there are fewer than 2,500 mature individuals. The markhor is the national animal of Pakistan. While chewing the cud, a foam-like substance comes out of its mouth which drops on the ground and dries. This foam-like substance is sought after by the local people, who believe it is useful in extracting snake poison from snake bitten wounds.

9. Yeti Crab

Also known as the Kiwaidae, this crab is a type of marine decapod living at deep-sea hydrothermal vents and cold seeps. The animals are commonly referred to as “yeti crabs” because of their claws and legs, which are white and appear to be furry like the mythical yeti

10. Snub-Nosed Monkey

Snub-nosed monkeys live in various parts of Asia and get their name from the short stump of a nose on their round face. Snub-nosed monkeys inhabit mountain forests, in the winter moving into deeply secluded regions. They spend the majority of their life in the trees and live together in very large groups of up to 600 members. They have a large vocal repertoire, calling sometimes solo while at other times together in choir-like fashion.

11. The Maned Wolf

The Maned Wolf is the largest canid in South America, resembling a large fox with reddish fur. This mammal is found in open and semi-open habitats, especially grasslands with scattered bushes and trees throughout South America. The maned wolf is the tallest of the wild canids and it’s long legs are most likely an adaptation to the tall grasslands of its native habitat.

12. Southern Right Whale Dolphin

The southern right whale dolphin is a small and slender species of mammal found in cool waters of the southern hemisphere. They are fast active swimmers and have no visible teeth and no dorsal fin. They are very graceful and often move by leaping out of the water continuously

13. Southern Red Muntjac

Found in south Asia, it has soft, short, brownish or greyish hair and is omnivorous, feeding on grass, fruits, shoots, seeds, birds’ eggs as well as small animals. It sometimes even displays scavenging behavior, feeding on carrion. It gives calls similar to barking, usually upon sensing a predator. Males are extremely territorial and—despite their diminutive size—can be quite fierce. They will fight each other for territory using their antlers or their tusk-like upper canine teeth, and can even defend themselves against certain predators such as dogs.

14. Cyphonia Clavata 

It is a species of treehopper called Cyphonia Clavata that literally has an ant growing out of its head. Well not literally, the ant-like thing on its head is an appendage that hides the treehopper’s actual body from predators.

15. Sunda Colugo

Also known as The Sunda flying lemur, it is not actually a lemur and does not fly. Instead, it glides as it leaps among trees. It is strictly arboreal, is active at night, and feeds on soft plant parts such as young leaves, shoots, flowers, and fruits. The Sunda Coluga can be found throughout Southeast Asia in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore

16. Tufted Deer

The Tufted Deer is a small species of deer characterized by the prominent tuft of black hair on its forehead. It is a close relative of the muntjac, living somewhat further north over a wide area of central China. It is a timid animal, mainly solitary or found in pairs and prefers places with good cover, where it is well camouflaged.

17. Lamprey

Lampreys are a type of jawless fish that live mostly in coastal and fresh waters whose adults are characterized by a toothed, funnel-like sucking mouth. They attach themselves to fish and suck their blood. Lampreys have been around for nearly 300 millions years and their body structure has remained relatively unchanged.

18. Raccoon Dog

The Raccoon Dog, or Tanuki, is a canid indigenous to East Asia. The raccoon dog is named for its resemblance to the raccoon, to which it is not closely related. They are very good climbers and regularly climb trees.

19. The Patagonian Mara

The Patagonian Mara is a relatively large rodent found in parts of Argentina. This herbivorous, somewhat rabbit-like animal has distinctive long ears and long limbs and its hind limbs are longer and more muscular than its forelimbs.

20. The Amazonian Royal Flycatcher

The Amazonian Royal Flycatcher is found in forests and woodlands throughout most of the Amazon basin. They are about 6 ½ inches in length and like to dart out from branches to catch flying insects or pluck them from leaves. They build very large nests (sometimes up to 6 feet long) on a branches near water. The nest hangs over the water which makes it hard for predators to reach.

21. Zebra Duiker

The zebra duiker is a small antelope found in Ivory Coast and other parts of Africa. They have gold or red-brown coats with distinctive zebra-like stripes (hence the name) Their prong-like horns are about 4.5 cm long in males, and half that in females. They live in lowland rainforests and mostly eat leaves and fruit.

22. Star-Nosed Mole

The star-nosed mole is a small mole found in wet low areas of eastern Canada and the northeastern United States. It is easily identified by the 11 pairs of pink fleshy appendages ringing its snout, which is used as a touch organ with more than 25,000 minute sensory receptors, known as Eimer’s organs, with which this hamster-sized mole feels its way around.

Link!

BAY OF BENGAL (April 14, 2012) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) transit in formation with Indian navy ships during Exercise Malabar 2012. Carl Vinson, Bunker Hill, and Halsey are part of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1, and are participating in the annual bi-lateral naval field training exercise with the Indian navy to advance multinational maritime relationships and mutual security issues. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans/Released)

Ships from the Indian navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the U.S. Navy sail in formation in the Bay of Bengal during exercise Malabar 2017. Malabar 2017 is the latest in a continuing series of exercises between the Indian navy, JMSDF and U.S. Navy that has grown in scope and complexity over the years to address the variety of shared threats to maritime security in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Holly L. Herline/Released)

BAY OF BENGAL (April 14, 2012) The Indian Navy guided-missile destroyer INS Ranvir (D54) is underway with U.S. and Indian navy ships in formation during Exercise Malabar 2012. Malabar is a scheduled naval training exercise conducted to advance multinational maritime relationships and mutual security. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans/Released)

Mercier x Betty  British Raj AU

The word ‘dance’ comes to mind, their own choreography of gazes exchanged across the room, brushes of hands and half-spoken confessions. They orbit around each other, destined never to collide it seems; Mercier is upper class, Betty is a governess. And he’s spying on the family whose children she swore to protect.
But in this foreign land of spices and silk, of golden gods and lush forests, where cultural norms clash and wane, even destinies must yield to desire.

Rating: Mature 
Word count: 3.9k
Beta: @fadewithfury​ <3
Thank you anon who prompted a Victorian AU that became this, and to my French anon for inspiration; Don’t let the pretentious summary fool you, this is plotless and shameless romantization of India, and an excuse to write UST and sneaking around.

Warnings: drinking, smoking, kids because Betty is a governess.
You don’t need to have seen either show. 

Tumblr | Ao3

1 | Falling

Calcutta, August 1902

As soon as Mercier exited the Raj Bhavan and stepped out from under the shade of the portico, the sun assaulted him. He tugged at his stiff high collar. It wouldn’t last, leaded clouds loomed on the horizon.

Monsoon season was almost over, the violent showers now few and far inbetween, giving way to the more tolerable days of Sharad Ritu, the fourth season of the Hindu calendar with the autumnal equinox as its midpoint.

Keep reading

YOUR GUIDE TO: 

Writing non-stereotypical, realistic character biographies for South Asian characters. I’ll be focusing on Indians, since that’s what I’m most familiar with, but I’ll touch on other South Asian peoples as well. 

WHY YOU NEED THIS GUIDE: 

I rarely see South Asian characters, and too often they are flat and stereotypical. They all speak Hindi, they’re all scientists and IT guys, and I see the same faceclaims used over and over representing a part of India they actually aren’t from.

WHAT MAKES ME QUALIFIED: 

I’m Indian. I lived there until I was nine years old, and I’m fluent in two different Indian languages, which also happen to be the two most commonly spoken languages in the country. I’m well traveled there as well: I’ve been from the Southern most tip to the Northwest and Northeast as well. 

WHAT YOU WILL FIND UNDER THE CUT: 

Tips on naming the characters, on fleshing out their backstories, an overview of major historical events, stereotypes to avoid at all costs, and a list of faceclaims that I’d like to see more of in the roleplay world. 

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Myanmar: Who are the Rohingya?

Who are the Rohingya?

The Rohingya are often described as “the world’s most persecuted minority”.  They are an ethnic group, majority of whom are Muslim, who have lived for centuries in the majority Buddhist Myanmar. Currently, there are about 1.1 million Rohingya who live in the Southeast Asian country. The Rohingya speak Rohingya or Ruaingga, a dialect that is distinct to others spoken in Rakhine State and throughout Myanmar. They are not considered one of the country’s 135 official ethnic groups and have been denied citizenship in Myanmar since 1982, which has effectively rendered them stateless. WATCH: The Rohingya - Silent Abuse (45:33) Nearly all of the Rohingya in Myanmar live in the western coastal state of Rakhine and are not allowed to leave without government permission. It is one the poorest states in the country with ghetto-like camps and a lack of basic services and opportunities. Due to ongoing violence and persecution, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled to neighbouring countries either by land or boat over the course of many decades.

Where are the Rohingya from?

Muslims have lived in the area now known as Myanmar since as early as the 12th century, according to many historians and Rohingya groups. The Arakan Rohingya National Organisation has said, “Rohingyas have been living in Arakan from time immemorial,” referring to the area now known as Rakhine. During the more than 100 years of British rule (1824-1948), there was a significant amount of migration of labourers to what is now known as Myanmar from today’s India and Bangladesh. Because the British administered Myanmar as a province of India, such migration was considered internal, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). The migration of labourers was viewed negatively by the majority of the native population. After independence, the government viewed the migration that took place during British rule as “illegal, and it is on this basis that they refuse citizenship to the majority of Rohingya,” HRW said in a 2000 report .  This has led many Buddhists to consider the Rohingya to be Bengali, rejecting the term Rohingya as a recent invention, created for political reasons.

How and why are they being persecuted? And why aren’t they recognised?

Shortly after Myanmar’s independence from the British in 1948, the Union Citizenship Act was passed, defining which ethnicities could gain citizenship. According to a 2015 report  by the International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School,  the Rohingya were not included. The act, however, did allow those whose families had lived in Myanmar for at least two generations to apply for identity cards. Rohingya were initially given such identification or even citizenship under the generational provision. During this time, several Rohingya also served in parliament.  READ MORE: The faces of Myanmar’s internally displaced After the 1962 military coup in Myanmar, things changed dramatically for the Rohingya. All citizens were required to obtain national registration cards. The Rohingya, however, were only given foreign identity cards, which limited the jobs and educational opportunities they could pursue and obtain. In 1982, a new citizenship law was passed, which effectively rendered the Rohingya stateless. Under the law, Rohingya were again not recognised as one of the country’s 135 ethnic groups. The law established three levels of citizenship. In order to obtain the most basic level (naturalised citizenship), there must be proof that the person’s family lived in Myanmar prior to 1948, as well as fluency in one of the national languages. Many Rohingya lack such paperwork because it was either unavailable or denied to them. As a result of the law, their rights to study, work, travel, marry, practice their religion and access health services have been and continue to be restricted. The Rohingya cannot vote and even if they jump through the citizenship test hoops, they have to identify as “naturalised” as opposed to Rohingya, and limits are placed on them entering certain professions like medicine, law or running for office. Since the 1970s, a number of crackdowns on the Rohingya in Rakhine State have forced hundreds of thousands to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh, as well as Malaysia, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. During such crackdowns, refugees have often reported rape, torture, arson and murder by Myanmar security forces. IN PICTURES: Rohingya: Chased from Myanmar, unwelcome in Bangladesh After the killings of nine border police in October 2016, troops started pouring into villages in Rakhine State. The government blamed what it called fighters from an armed Rohingya group. The killings led to a security crackdown on villages where Rohingya lived. During the crackdown, government troops were accused of an array of human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killing, rape and arson - allegations the government denied. In November 2016, a UN official accused the government of carrying out “ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya. It was not the first time such an accusation has been made. In April 2013, for example, HRW said Myanmar was conducting a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya. The government has consistently denied such accusations. Most recently, Myanmar’s military has imposed a crackdown on the country’s Rohingya population after police posts and an army base were attacked in late August. Residents and activists have described scenes of troops firing indiscriminately at unarmed Rohingya men, women and children. The government, however, has said nearly 100 people were killed after armed men from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) launched a raid on police outposts in the region. Since the violence erupted, rights groups have documented fires burning in at least 10 areas of Myanmar’s Rakhine State. More than 300,000 people have fled the violence, with thousands trapped in a no-man’s land between the two countries, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).  The UN has also said that hundreds of civilians who have tried to enter Bangladesh have been pushed back by patrols. Many have also been detained and forcibly returned to Myanmar. 

How many Rohingya have fled Myanmar and where have they gone?

Since the late 1970s, nearly one million Rohingya have fled Myanmar due to widespread persecution. According to the most recently available data from the United Nations in May, more than 168,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar since 2012. Following violence that broke out last year, more than 87,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh from October 2016 to July 2017, according to the International Organization for Migration.  WATCH: Fresh violence forces 18,000 Rohingya to cross into Bangladesh (2:40) Many Rohingya also risked their lives trying to get to Malaysia by boat across the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. Between 2012 and 2015, more than 112,000 made the dangerous journey. Prior to the violence that began in August, the UN estimated that there are as many as 420,000 Rohingya refugees in Southeast Asia. Additionally, it said there were around 120,000 internally displaced Rohingya. Since the violence in Myanmar’s northwest began, more than 300,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh, UNHCR said. It added that more than 1,000 people, mostly Rohingya, may have been killed in Myanmar. 

What do Aung San Suu Kyi and the Myanmar government say about the Rohingya?

State Chancellor Aung San Suu Kyi, who is the de facto leader of Myanmar, has refused to really discuss the plight of the Rohingya. Aung San Suu Kyi and her government do not recognise the Rohingya as an ethnic group and have blamed violence in Rakhine, and subsequent military crackdowns, on those they call “terrorists”. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate does not have control over the military but has been criticised for her failure to condemn indiscriminate force used by troops, as well as to stand up for the rights of the more than one million Rohingya in Myanmar. OPINION: Aung San Suu Kyi’s inexcusable silence The government has also repeatedly rejected accusations of abuses. In February 2017, the UN published a report that found that government troops “very likely” committed crimes against humanity since renewed military crackdowns began in October 2016. At the time, the government did not directly address the findings of the report and said it had the “the right to defend the country by lawful means” against “increasing terrorist activities”, adding that a domestic investigation was enough. In April, however, Aung San Suu Kyi said in a rare interview with the BBC that the phrase “ethnic cleansing” was “too strong” a term to describe the situation in Rakhine. “I don’t think there is ethnic cleansing going on,” she said. “I think ethnic cleansing is too strong an expression to use for what is happening.” WATCH: Will Myanmar heed advocacy for Rohingya rights? (24:35) In September 2016, Aung San Suu Kyi entrusted former UN chief Kofi Annan with finding ways to heal the long-standing divisions in the region. While many welcomed the commission and its findings, which were released this August, Azeem Ibrahim, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Policy,  argued it was just a way  for Aung San Suu Kyi to “pacify the global public opinion and try to demonstrate to the international community that she is doing what she can to resolve the issue”. Annan was not given the mandate to investigate specific cases of human rights abuses, but rather one for long-term economic development, education and healthcare. When setting up the commission, Aung San Suu Kyi’s government said it would abide by its findings. The commission urged the government to end the highly militarised crackdown on neighbourhoods where Rohingya live, as well as scrap restrictions on movement and citizenship. Following the release of the August report, the government welcomed the commission’s recommendations and said it would give the report “full consideration with the view to carrying out the recommendations to the fullest extent … in line with the situation on the ground”.  On the latest round of violence, Aung San Suu Kyi condemned a “huge iceberg of misinformation” on the crisis, without mentioning the Rohingya who have fled to Bangladesh.  The government has often restricted access to northern Rakhine States for journalists and aid workers. Aung San Suu Kyi’s office has also accused aid groups of helping those it considers to be “terrorists”. OPINION: Myanmar needs to get serious about peace In January, Yanghee Lee, a UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, said she was denied access to certain parts of Rakhine and was only allowed to speak to Rohingya who had been pre-approved by the government.  The country has also denied visas to members of a UN probe investigating the violence and alleged abuses in Rakhine.

What does Bangladesh say about the Rohingya?

There are nearly half a million Rohingya refugees living in mostly makeshift camps in Bangladesh. The majority remain unregistered. Bangladesh considers most of those who have crossed its borders and are living outside of camps as having “illegally infiltrated” the country. Bangladesh has often tried to prevent Rohingya refugees from crossing its border.  OPINION: Regional actors should take a stand against Myanmar In late January, the country resurrected a plan to relocate tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to a remote island that is prone to flooding and has also been called “uninhabitable” by rights groups. Under the plan, which was originally introduced in 2015, authorities would move undocumented Myanmar nationals to Thengar Char in the Bay of Bengal. Rights groups have decried the proposal, saying the island completely floods during monsoon season. The UN also called the forced relocation “very complex and controversial”. Most recently, Bangladesh’s foreign minister labelled the violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar “a genocide”. The country’s National Commission for Human Rights also said it was considering “pressing for a trial against Myanmar, and against the Myanmar army at an international tribunal” on charges of genocide. 

What does the international community say about the Rohingya?

The international community has labelled the Rohingya the “most persecuted minority in the world”. The UN, as well as several rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have consistently decried the treatment of the Rohingya by Myanmar and neighbouring countries. The UN has said that it is “very likely” that the military committed grave human rights abuses in Rakhine that may amount to war crimes, allegations the government denies. OPINION: Only international pressure can save Rohingya now In March, the UN adopted a resolution to set up an independent, international mission to investigate the alleged abuses. It stopped short of calling for a Commission of Inquiry, the UN’s highest level of investigation. The UN investigators must provide a verbal update in September and a full report next year on their findings. Rights groups have criticised the government’s reluctance to accept the UN investigators. Human Rights Watch warned that Myanmar’s government risked getting bracketed with “pariah states” like North Korea and Syria if it did not allow the UN to investigate alleged crimes. READ MORE: Myanmar - UN probe ‘can only aggravate’ Rakhine tension In response to the latest round of violence, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of the risk of ethnic cleansing, calling on Aung San Suu Kyi and the country’s security forces to end the violence. In early September, Guterres also warned of a looming “humanitarian catastrophe” if the violence does not end.  UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein urged Myanmar to end its “brutal security operation” against the Rohingya in Rakhine, calling it a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.  Both UN officials said they completely supported the findings of the advisory commission, led by Kofi Annan, and urged the government to fulfil its recommendations. OPINION: The Rohingya crisis and the role of the OIC

What is the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army?

The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), formerly known as the al-Yaqeen Faith Movement, released a statement under its new name in March 2017, saying it was obligated to “defend, salvage and protect [the] Rohingya community”. The group said it would do so “with our best capacities as we have the legitimate right under international law to defend ourselves in line with the principle of self defence”. The group is considered a “terrorist” organisation by the Myanmar government.  In its March statement, the ARSA added that it does “not associate with any terrorist group across the world” and does “not commit any form of terrorism against any civilian[s] regardless of their religious and ethnic origin”. The statement also said: “We […] declare loud and clear that our defensive attacks have only been aimed at the oppressive Burmese regime in accordance with international norms and principles until our demands are fulfilled.” The group has claimed responsibility for an attack on police posts and an army base in Rakhine State. According to the government nearly 400 people were killed, the majority of whom were members of the ARSA. Rights groups, however, say hundreds of civilians have been killed by security forces.  Rights group Fortify Rights said it has documented that fighters with the ARSA “are also accused of killing civilians - suspected government 'informants’ - in recent days and months, as well as preventing men and boys from flee Maungdaw Township”.  On September 9, the group declared a month-long unilateral ceasefire in Rakhine to enable aid groups to address the humanitarian crisis in the area.  “ARSA strongly encourages all concerned humanitarian actors resume their humanitarian assistance to all victims of the humanitarian crisis, irrespective of ethnic or religious background during the ceasefire period,” the group said in a statement, adding that it calls on Myanmar’s military to also temporarily lay down arms.  According to the International Crisis group, the ARSA has ties to Rohingya living in Saudi Arabia. The Myanmar government formally categorised the group as a “terrorist” organisation on August 25.
Rohingya flee to Bangladesh after Myanmar attacks

Myanmar is committing crimes against humanity in its campaign against Muslim insurgents in Rakhine state, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday, Sept. 26, calling for the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions and an arms embargo.

The U.N. refugee agency called for a redoubling of international aid for the 480,000 refugees – 60 percent of them children – who have fled to Bangladesh since Aug. 25 to escape the violence.

A Myanmar government spokesman rejected the accusation of crimes against humanity, saying there was no evidence.

Myanmar has also rejected U.N. accusations that its forces are engaged in ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in response to coordinated attacks by Rohingya insurgents on the security forces on Aug. 25.

Refugees arriving in Bangladesh have accused the army and Buddhist vigilantes of trying to drive Rohingya out of Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

“The Burmese military is brutally expelling the Rohingya from northern Rakhine state,” said James Ross, legal and policy director at New York-based Human Rights Watch.

“The massacres of villagers and mass arson driving people from their homes are all crimes against humanity.”

Myanmar, also known as Burma, says its forces are fighting terrorists responsible for attacking the police and the army, killing civilians and torching villages. (Reuters)

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A Rohingya refugee baby cries as his mother jostles for aid in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Sept. 20, 2017. (Photo: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)

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Discarded items of clothing in a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Sept. 20, 2017. (Photo: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters)

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A Rohingya refugee woman’s forehead bleeds as she jostles for aid in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Sept. 20, 2017. (Photo: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)

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A Rohingya refugee boy waits for aid in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Sept. 20, 2017. (Photo: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters)

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Refugees cross a flooded bridge in the Balukhali Rohingya refugee camp on Sept. 19, 2017 in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. (Photo: Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

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Rohingya refugees react as aid is distributed in a camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Sept. 19, 2017. (Photo: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters)

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Rohingya refugees wait in line for relief supplies in the refugee camp of Leda near Teknaf on Sept. 19, 2017.
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A Rohingya refugees carry supplies in the refugee camp of Thyangkhali near the Bangladeshi village of Gumdhum, on Sept. 18, 2017. (Photo: Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images)

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Rohingya Muslims, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, stretch their arms out to collect food items distributed by aid agencies near Balukhali refugee camp, Bangladesh, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. (Photo: Dar Yasin/AP)

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Rohingya refugees manually drill a borewell at a camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Sept. 18, 2017. (Photo: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)

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Rohingya refugees protect themself from the rain in Bangladesh’s Balukhali refugee camp on Sept. 17, 2017. (Photo: Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images)

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A Bangladeshi health worker administers vaccine to a Rohingya Muslim boy, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, at Balukhali refugee camp, Bangladesh, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. (Photo: Dar Yasin/AP)

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A Rohingya refugee walks past a makeshift camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Sept. 17, 2017. (Photo: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)

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A Rohingya Muslim woman, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, lies unconscious on the shore of the Bay of Bangal after the boat she was traveling in capsized at Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. (Photo: Dar Yasin/AP)

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Hamida, a Rohingya refugee woman cries as she holds the body of her 40-day-old son, who died when a boat capsized at the shore of Shah Porir Dwip, in Teknaf, Bangladesh, September 14, 2017. (Photo: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)

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A Bangladeshi boy walks towards a parked boat as smoke rises from across the border in Myanmar, at Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. (Photo: Dar Yasin/AP)

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A Rohingya refugee takes a bath outside his temporary shelter at Balukhali makeshift refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Sept. 13, 2017. (Photo: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)

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Rohingya Muslim refugees arrive on a boat after crossing from Myanmar on Sept. 8, 2017 in Dakhinpara, Bangladesh. (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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Rohingya refugees climb up a hill after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Sept. 8, 2017. (Photo: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)

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Rohingya refugees climb down a hill after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Sept. 8, 2017. (Photo: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)

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Smoke rises from a burned house in Gawdu Zara village, northern Rakhine state, Myanmar Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. Journalists saw new fires burning Thursday in the Myanmar village that had been abandoned by Rohingya Muslims, and where pages from Islamic texts were seen ripped and left on the ground. (Photo: AP)

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Rohingya refugees wait for boat to cross a canal after crossing the border through the Naf river in Teknaf, Bangladesh, Sept. 7, 2017. (Photo: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)

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Rohingya Muslim refugees who have been living in Bangladesh for over a year sit by a fire in a more established shelter in a refugee camp on Sept. 8, 2017 in Gundum, Bangladesh. (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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Rohingya Muslim refugees react after being re-united with each other after arriving on a boat from Myanmar on Sept. 8, 2017 in Whaikhyang Bangladesh. (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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Rohingya refugees carry their child as they walk through water after crossing border by boat through the Naf River in Teknaf, Bangladesh, Sept. 7, 2017. (Photo: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)

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Washed clothes belonging to Rohingya are spread out to dry on bushes near Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. (Photo: Bernat Armangue/AP)

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A Rohingya refugee woman and boy looks on through barbed wire as they wait for boat to cross the border through Naf river in Maungdaw, Myanmar, Sept. 7, 2017. (Photo: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)

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View of newly built makeshift shelters at the Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp in the Bangladeshi district of Ukhia on September 8, 2017. (Photo: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images)

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Rohingya Muslim refugees sleep under a makeshift shelter in a clearing in a forest after crossing the border from Myanmar on Sept. 8, 2017 in Gundum, Bangladesh. (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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A Rohingya man holds the body of a two-day-old baby before his burial at Kutupalong’s refugee camp cemetery, Bangladesh, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. (Photo: Bernat Armangue/AP)

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An injured Rohingya boy Mohammad Junayed, 15, receives treatment for a bullet wound, at Chittagong Medical College Hospital in Chittagong, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. (Photo: A.M. Ahad/AP)

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Rohingya refugees stretch their hands for food near Balukhali in Coxís Bazar, Bangladesh, Sept. 4, 2017. (Photo: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)

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Rohingya refugees walk to the shore with his belongings after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border by boat through the Bay of Bengal in Teknaf, Bangladesh, Sept. 5, 2017. (Photo: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)

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A Rohingya ethnic minority from Myanmar carries a child in a sack and walks through rice fields after crossing over to the Bangladesh side of the border near Cox’s Bazar’s Teknaf area, Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. (Photo: Bernat Armangue/AP)

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A Rohingya refugee girl sits next to her mother who rests after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, in Teknaf, Bangladesh, Sept. 6, 2017. (Photo: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)

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Local Bangladeshi people offer water as Rohingya refugees arrive in Teknaf, Bangladesh, Sept. 1, 2017. (Photo: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)

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A Rohingya refugee woman cries after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border by boat through the Bay of Bengal in Teknaf, Bangladesh, Sept. 5, 2017. (Photo: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)

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A Rohingya child is carried on a sling while his family walk through rice fields after crossing the border into Bangladesh near Cox’s Bazar’s Teknaf area, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. (Photo: Bernat Armangue/AP)

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A Rohingya girl reacts to the camera in Teknaf, Bangladesh, Sept. 1, 2017. (Photo: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)

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Rohingya refugees have a dinner at a makeshift shelter near Gundum in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Sept. 3, 2017. (Photo: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)

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A Rohingya boy carries a child while walking in the mud after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Teknaf, Bangladesh, Sept. 1, 2017. (Photo: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)

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Rohingya refugees sit inside a makeshift tent near Gundum in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Sept. 3, 2017. (Photo: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)

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A local man carries an old Rohingya refugee woman as she is unable to walk after crossing the border, in Teknaf, Bangladesh, Sept. 1, 2017. (Photo: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)

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Rohingya flee into Bangladesh after Myanmar attacksRohingya flee to Bangladesh after Myanmar attacks

A new Rohingya refugee woman cries as they arrive near the Kutupalang makeshift Refugee Camp, in Coxís Bazar, Bangladesh, Aug. 30, 2017. (Photo: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)

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A Rohingya refugee woman carry children while walking in the water after travelling over the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Teknaf, Bangladesh, Sept. 1, 2017. (Photo: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)

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Rohingya refugee people take part in Eid al-Adha prayer near the Kutupalang makeshift refugee camp, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Sept. 2, 2017. (Photo: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)

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Rohingya refugees walk on the muddy path after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Teknaf, Bangladesh, Sept. 3, 2017. (Photo: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)

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Shoes are seen left in a road near Maungdaw, Myanmar, Aug. 30, 2017. (Photo: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters)

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A police officer stands in a house that was burnt down during the days of violence in Maungdaw, Myanmar, Aug. 30, 2017. (Photo: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters)

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This combination of images shows two infrared satellite maps; Jan. 30, 2014, top; and Sept. 2, 2017, bottom; displaying the town of Maungdaw, Myanmar. According to Human Rights Watch, the map on bottom shows predominantly Rohingya homes that were recently destroyed. (Photo: Human Rights Watch via AP)

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