At the moment, there is considerable uncertainty about the exact origin and ethnicity of Rohingyas in the world. Some people trace their ancestry to Arab explorers in this region. But most people believe them to be the ethnic Bengalis. Sadly, just like their past, one cannot precisely predicts about the future of this most persecuted ethnic minority. There is uncertainty whether or not Rohingyas would be able to survive as a ‘text-book ethnic cleansing’ against them is currently under way in Myanmar. There are many stateless nations in the world. But quite unfortunately, stateless Rohingyas are the only people who are being denied their right to exist on the planet earth.

The plight of Rohingyas is simply unprecedented in the world. No municipal or international law determines their rights, or otherwise defines their status on this planet. So they are being treated as if they are some extraterrestrial beings from an alien planet. No country in the world is willing to own these people. No country is even inclined to voluntarily offer them temporary shelter or refuge. No one in the world seriously intends to rescue them. And no world agency is interested in preserving these ‘endangered species’.

Burmese security forces are forcefully expelling Rohingyas from the Myanmar. On the other hand, some South East Asian countries, namely Bangladesh, are asking them to go back to Myanmar. So a game of human ping-pong is being played in the region. Now India has also decided to come down heavily on some 40,000 Rohingya immigrants inside the country. It is seeking to deport these refugees. However, one just wonders how can the term deportation be used vis-à-vis stateless people like Rohingyas. In fact, India can’t send back these refugees to any country as the entire world has already disowned them. Indeed this Indian move will further aggravate the current Rohingya crisis in the region.

Giving rise to world’s fastest growing refugee crisis, more than 400,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh over the last three weeks. International mass media and observers have been denied access to the conflict-hit areas in Rakhine state. But this instant massive exodus is sufficient to ascertain the nature and magnitude of Rohingya persecution inside Myanmar. It just shows how brutally the Burmese security forces are killing and perishing Rohingyas in the Rakhine state. These people are leaving their homes despite knowing the fact they would not be welcomed anywhere in the world. A recent analysis of satellite imagery from the Myanmar, conducted by Human Rights Watch, shows that more than 200 hundred Rohingya villages have been burnt in the Rakhine state. Similarly, Rohingyas are being beheaded and burnt alive by the Buddhist monk militias and Burmese security forces as part of their systematic ethnic cleansing against them.

Despite living in Myanmar for generations, Rohingya people were denaturalized by the Burmese government through an arbitrary citizenship law in 1982. Thus they were instantly reduced to stateless entities. Later, they were also disenfranchised. Their freedom of movement inside the Myanmar was severely restricted. They were deprived an access to education, employment and health services. They were barred from marrying and rearing children without permission. Nevertheless, Rohingyas have been one of the most peaceful nations in the world. They never strongly protested or agitated against their persecution in the country. They never launched any political or civil right movement. Similarly, there has also been no significant Rohingya separatist movement in Myanmar. At the moment, they are demanding nothing beyond a right to live or exist.

Each nation has the right to exist in the same manner an individual has the right to live. Presently, there are many stateless nations in the world like Kurds, Tamils, Kashmiris, and Quebecs etc. However, these nations are only being denied a right to statehood i.e. a right to have an independent sovereign state. Unlike Rohingyas, they are by no means deprived of their right to exist as a nation in the world. Regretfully, Rohingyas are the stateless nation which is facing a serious existential challenge in the face of one of the worst kinds of ethnic cleansing in the history of mankind. There are many world agencies which are actively endeavouring to protect and preserve the wildlife in the world. Ironically, no world body is seriously trying to preserve the ‘habitat’ of the endangered Rohingyas.

While the persecution against Rohingyas continues unabated in Myanmar, the international community looks reluctant to do anything for these unfortunate people beyond requesting Myanmar government to voluntarily end its policy of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya community. In the recently-concluded meeting in Kazakhstan, the 57-member OIC also expressed “serious concern about systematic brutal acts committed by the armed forces against Rohingya in Myanmar”. As usual, ‘the collective voice of the Muslim World’, couldn’t take any concrete measure to protect the beleaguered Muslims in the world. So it has once again showed that it is merely a toothless and dysfunctional entity. It is also really regrettable that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the only leader in the Muslim World who looks really concerned about Rohingyas’ woes in Myanmar and elsewhere in the world.

The current Rohingya crisis warrants some concrete measures and actions at international level. UNSC is an important international watchdog which is supposed to pro-actively intervene to put an end to this crisis. Chapter VII of the UN Charter empowers UNSC to take coercive actions against an aggressor state to preserve international peace and security. Therefore, this world body can impose economic and trade sanctions on Myanmar to make the incumbent Burmese regime abandon its nefarious plan of ethnic cleansing against Rohingyas. It can also deploy peace keeping troops to protect Rohingya community in the troubled Rakhine state.

The worst humanitarian crisis is just looming in Bangladesh as hundreds of thousands of unattended Rohingya refugees are living under miserable conditions there. They are currently staying in the makeshift camps without proper shelter, food, clean drinking water and sanitation. Heavy rainfall has just added to their miseries. Therefore, the world aid agencies should make some prompt arrangements to rescue and relieve these helpless people. These refugees should certainly not be left at the mercy of Bangladesh which can’t adequately handle such a massive influx of people.

At this stage, the international community and world’s major powers must also seriously consider the option of making some crucial arrangements to preserve the stateless Rohingya community, which is currently scattered in many South Asian countries, in Northern Rakhine state in Myanmar. For this purpose, essentially in line with East Timor or South Sudan, a semi-independent or independent sovereign state for Rohingya population can be formed in the northern part of Myanmar’s Rakhine state. Indeed East Timor and South Sudan are the pragmatic models, conceived and evolved by the international community, to protect a minority community from a persecution or exploitation by the majority in a single state. Noticeably, the atrocities and persecution against Rohingyas in Myanmar have outpaced the persecution against minority population in the aforementioned countries. Therefore, Rohingyas’s right to exist as a nation must be acknowledged and respected. Now there should also be some serious endeavours to preserve these ‘endangered species’ in their ‘natural habitat’ in Myanmar.