The History of Rohingya

History of Rohingya

For years now, the world has known the Rohingya as the most oppressed ethnic group in the world that has been subjected to violence of great magnitude. In addition to that, the UN has labeled Rohingya as the world’s most persecuted minority. It is high time that the world hears about the plight of thousands of helpless people of Rohingya and how we can help Rohingya people through charity.

In order to completely understand the struggles of the Rohingya people, we have put together a concise timeline of Rohingya history, starting from the very first year when the Myanmar conflict arose till the current scenario of Rohingya Muslims.

Timeline History of Rohingya People

The Rohingya are a Muslim minority group that used to reside in an area known as Arakan, located in present-day Burma. Let’s go over the events that led to such a miserable fate for thousands of Rohingya people in order to get a better understanding of Rohingya history.


Back in 1785, the peaceful land of Rohingya people known as Arakan was oppressively occupied by the Bamar, a dominant ethnicity in Burma. Mass execution of Rohingya men was carried out due to the illegal occupation of the land that once belonged to the Rohingya people.

By 1799, thousands of Rohingya people were forced to flee to British Bengal in order to save their lives and protect themselves from persecution at the hands of Bamar.


After several wars by 1823, Burma came under British rule and became one of the colonies of Britain. Throughout British rule, the majority of Burma people felt threatened and neglected. Hence, it wasn’t long before the movement of independence catapulted due to fueled spirits of nationalism in Burmese.

World War 2

During World War 2, the Japanese raided Burma while the British backtracked towards the subcontinent. The Burmese nationalist groups welcomed the Japanese with open hands because it meant the erasure of the British from Burma forever. On the other hand, the Rohingya people were in favour of the British due to the immense support they received during the colonial period.

Following this clash, major sectarian violence broke out between the Burmese Buddhists and the Rohingya Muslims. Furthermore, the Japanese started suppressing Rohingya for their pro-British views. To worsen the situation, the British equipped the Rohingya Muslims with weapons as a shield against the Japanese.

As a result, the situation quickly got out of hand, and civil war erupted along with a great deal of violence.


Finally, in 1945 the Japanese retreated, while Burma acquired independence from British rule. However, after forming the government, the Burmese refused to accept Rohingya people as legal citizens. Following this, there were movements carried out by the Rohingya Muslims to join the recently established land of Pakistan. On the other hand, the Burmese government continued carrying out multiple military operations against the Rohingya Muslims.


In 1982, the Burmese government legislated the 1982 Citizenship law. This law excluded the Rohingya people and failed to acknowledge their existence as a minority group in Burma. Then the government made it a necessity for everyone to apply for their new citizenship card, while the Rohingya people were denied the right to apply for citizenship cards.

Simultaneously, targeted violence was carried out against the Rohingya Muslims and they were mercilessly executed in their homeland.


The Burmese government continued the suppression of minority groups such as Rohingya, Panthay, and Kokang. By 2012, the targeted violence and mass killings of Rohingya people were at peak.

Finally, the Burmese government ended up forcefully deporting thousands of Rohingya Muslims from their native land Arakan to present-day Bangladesh.


In 2003, only 2 camps existed among the 20+ camps built by Rohingya refugees in the early 90s. The living conditions worsened along with a severe shortage of essentials like food and water for Rohingya refugees seeking shelter in Bangladesh. A study revealed that nearly 53% of adults and 58% of children were found to be severely malnourished.


In 2006, Rohingya refugee camps faced massive destruction due to the monsoon season and heavy rain spells. Almost 79% of shelters in the last two remaining camps were swept away by the floods. As a result, a massive outbreak of several water-borne diseases was observed. Furthermore, the malnutrition ratio of Rohingya refugees increased by ten folds following the lack of water and food supplies.


Only a few Rohingya refugees were acknowledged as refugees, the rest were denied basic rights and access to necessities. In addition to that, the unacknowledged refugees were subjected to exploitation and molestation at the hands of locals.


In 2015 again, massive migration of Rohingya people to Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Thailand was observed. There was only one escape from the torment of the Burmese government and that was an equally tormenting sea journey to a safe place. Many people lost their lives during the voyage, and many were left stranded at the sea with almost zero essential supplies.

Entire Rohingya villages were burned down forcing people to flee elsewhere or seek refuge in internal displacement camps.


In 2016, there was another strong wave of anti-Rohingya attacks. The military and Burmese governments went to new lengths in order to persecute and oppress the remaining Rohingya population. As a result, an influx of refugees was observed in Bangladesh which caused stress on already depleting resources of food, water, and healthcare.


The cycle of oppression and ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya population kept pacing at the hands of the Burmese government and military attacks were carried out against the Rohingya population. Which resulted in the migration of thousands and thousands of Rohingya people from their homeland to various regions of the world.

Rohingya refugees set up their makeshift camps in Bangladesh as a form of temporary shelter.


A massive outbreak of diphtheria bacterial disease was observed in the Rohingya refugee camps. Even though diphtheria could be easily prevented through vaccines, due to the absence of healthcare it rapidly spread through refugee children and claimed many lives.


Most Rohingya refugees still resided in unreliable makeshift camps that they lived in when they first arrived in 2017 due to mass displacement from their homeland. The majority of Rohingya refugees faced a multitude of restrictions as their identity was merely being a refugee.


2020 marked three years of the mass execution and displacement of Rohingya refugees at the hands of the Burmese government. Even after three years, the refugee population continues to struggle as they try to build their lives from scratch. Everyone from an adult to a child in the Rohingya refugee population suffers from a lifelong trauma due to the inhumane conditions they faced back in their homeland.

What does Bangladesh say about the Rohingya people?

Due to an influx of Rohingya refugees Bangladesh\’s economy was quite burdened. Hence, Bangladesh\’s government devised a relocation plan for thousands of Rohingya refugees. However, the relocation of Rohingya refugees to an isolated island Bhasan char located in the Bay of Bengal faced severe backlash and criticism from human rights activists and international human rights organizations from all over the world.

Despite the backlash, Bangladesh’s government has relocated nearly 20,000+ Rohingya refugees to Bhasan chars since December 2020.

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

Since the crackdown on the Rohingya people and mass persecution against them, thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled to various regions of the world from their homeland Myanmar. Most Rohingya refugees have sought refuge in Bangladesh however, their living conditions for them are still far from improving due to a severe shortage of essential supplies such as food, water, and healthcare.

Presently, there are over 1 million Rohingya refugees living in refugee camps of Bangladesh in Cox’s Bazar along with the island of Bhasna Char.

Frequently Asked Questions

When did the Rohingya crisis start?

The Rohingya Muslims have faced severe violence and large-scale persecution for decades at the hands of the Burmese government. The Rohingya crisis basically started back in 2015, when thousands of Rohingya Muslims were forced to leave their homes and inter-communal camps as they were subjected to ethnic cleansing and sectarian violence.

Where did the Rohingya come from?

The term Rohingya is generally used to refer to a group of Muslims who were concentrated in the Rakhine (Arakan) state in Myanmar\’s present-day Burma. Now, these people have sought refuge in various parts of the world, mainly in the refugee camps of Bangladesh.

What is the problem with Rohingya?

The number one problem of Rohingya Muslims is statelessness, they are denied the right to identity and citizenship in their native land Myanmar. In addition to that, Rohingya children are subjected to violence and assault.

Why do Rohingya go to Bangladesh?

The Rohingya Muslims have been subjected to mass violence, ethnic cleansing, and execution in their native land Myanmar. A large-scale exodus took place against the Rohingya Muslims back in 2017 when violence broke out in the Rakhine state. As a result, thousands of Rohingya Muslims were forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in various regions of the world.

Who is responsible for the Rohingya crisis?

Burmese military and government are mainly responsible for carrying out violent activities and mass execution of Rohingya Muslims.

Which country supports Rohingya?

Indonesia, a country with the largest Muslim population in the world, immensely supports the Rohingya Muslims.

How many Rohingya left Myanmar?

Since 2015, an estimated 900,00 Rohingya have fled to south-eastern Bangladesh. Apart from this, more Rohingya Muslims have fled to other regions of the world to seek refuge. Furthermore, more than 100,000 Rohingya Muslims have been held captive at internally displaced person camps in Myanmar.

End Note on Rohingya History

Now that you are well aware of the distressing Rohingya history and the sorrowful fate of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who were forced to flee their homes and were subjected to ethnic cleansing and mass persecution, do you wish to help these people in any capacity that you can?

If yes, you can come forward and help us through your funds in smoothly providing aid for hundreds of Rohingya refugees stranded in Cox’s Bazar Bangladesh.

Join hands with us, and support our Rohingya aid project by donating today!


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