The Rohingya, who are estimated to number around one million, or about one third of the state’s population, have been described by the UN as one of the “most persecuted” ethnic minorities in the world, from a conflict that dates back decades. It is said that with the military coup in 1962, democracy ended in Burma where along with it, any official recognition of the Rohingya. In 1982, a new citizenship law was passed, condemning most Rohingya to a stateless existence, where today, the government argues, that they are from neighboring Bangladesh not Myanmar, and that their identity has been invented by migrants to gain citizenship.

Because of this law, these people are denied the right to have food, the right to have medical treatment, right to have movement and even the right to have children, or education. The media is splattered with images of burning down of their houses and pushing them into camps, where they are trapped by human smugglers and left stranded in the open sea to starve to death. The question that should be on everyone’s mind is why the world is silent? The persecution of the Rohingya Muslims can be considered one of the biggest human crises, yet the other nations are only playing the role of silent spectators. No efforts have been made by any state to force the Myanmar government to end its atrocities against them, where the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has remained almost nonexistent.

Recently, The Dalai Lama has appealed to Myanmar’s Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to speak up for the country’s persecuted Muslim Rohingya minority, amid a worsening refugee crisis. However, she has let them down, by remaining silent, an act that has been followed by almost all world leaders. Can we, without hesitating claim that there is something wrong with humanity’s way of thinking, where they are ultimately lacking concern for others’ lives and wellbeing? Or has religion dichotomized nations to the extent of us no longer feeling any apathy for someone with a different form of faith? This crisis can only be solved, if we condemn such crimes on the basis of humanity and not just religion. The international forum should reevaluate the Myanmar government’s policies, and ensure that they review the discriminatory policies against various communities and ethnic groups in the country. As a global community, we need to ensure that minorities around the world feel part of their particular nations, rather than living life in fear from the dominant powers.