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The+United+Nations+has+released+an+estimation+of+603%2C000+Rohingya+who+have+taken+refuge+in+Bangladesh+as+of+October+22%2C+2017+%28Courtesy+of+Unsplash%29.
The United Nations has released an estimation of 603,000 Rohingya who have taken refuge in Bangladesh as of October 22, 2017 (Courtesy of Unsplash).

The United Nations has released an estimation of 603,000 Rohingya who have taken refuge in Bangladesh as of October 22, 2017 (Courtesy of Unsplash).

The United Nations has released an estimation of 603,000 Rohingya who have taken refuge in Bangladesh as of October 22, 2017 (Courtesy of Unsplash).

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When was the last time you’ve heard of the term ethnic cleansing? For many of us, it was probably in history class when learning about the Holocaust during World War Two– a global conflict that happened about seven decades ago. The assumption is that no human would commit such an atrocity today, but think again.

“Ethnic cleansing may take place because the majority feels threatened by the minority… The majority may think that they’re superior [compared] to the minority, and they don’t want the minority to be a part of the population,” says spanish teacher Mary Donohue.

The recent reports of violence against the Rohingya people in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is a humanitarian crisis that the United Nations has been tackling. The Rohingya people have fled to neighboring countries, seeking refuge from the “systematic murder, rape, and burning” that is taking place in the Rakhine State.

“It’s horrific, and it really makes a statement on how an entire culture can be convinced to commit such atrocities,” says senior Quinn Divers.

The killings began after a recent attack by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on thirty police posts, and sparked the violence inflicted by the Myanmar Military on August 25th. The military burned down 288 villages and slaughtered civilians as a retaliation to the incident, forcing more than half a million Rohingya people to cross borders in terror and take shelter. This has become one of the fastest growing refugee crises to date, as reported by the United Nations.

“A majority of the Burmese are Buddhists. When I think of Buddhists, it’s often people who are very peaceful… I heard an interview from a Burmese Buddhist about what’s happening right now, and their indifferent response to it really surprised me,” says junior Liam Baker.

Though the attacks are recent, the Rohingya Muslims have had an ongoing conflict with the Burmese, the majority of whom are Buddhists. Members of the minority have faced discrimination with the country’s denial of their citizenship, despite the fact that their residency can be traced back to the 12th century.

“I don’t know anything about the Rohingya, but my guess would be that they look different or have different customs than most of the other citizens in [Burma],” says Divers.

The country’s Nobel Peace Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi has been facing heavy criticism due to her seemingly nonchalant attitude about the issue. Suu Kyi has yet to take drastic steps, but this could be due to the weight of the problem and for tactful reasons.

“I think that she should work more closely with the UN to get to the bottom of it… by her not saying anything, it’s almost a complicit denial of the situation…These atrocities are clearly occurring based on what the UN is finding, so I feel that she should work with the UN to get to the bottom of it,” says Donohue.

The United Nations and other humanitarian organizations have been in close contact with the victims, sending in as much aid as needed. The Burmese authorities, however, are putting a halt to these efforts.

“I believe [the United Nations] should establish refugee areas and ways for the Rohingya to try and escape from the persecution,” says Divers.

Despite the religious and political disputes others may hold about the issue, one thing remains: the need for humane righteousness.

“Any mass killing of people in a country calls for alarm; we need to use the moral framework in place, such as the United Nations, and take the actions needed,” says Donohue.

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