©Olivier Papegnies


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The Rohingya
– Persecution and discrimination against Rohingya in Myanmar 1

map Rohingya is mainly a Muslim minority in Myanmar. The population is said to be 1 to 2 million, most of whom live in Rakhine State in western Myanmar. In Myanmar, where more than 100 ethnic minorities live, there have been constant conflicts between these ethnic groups and the government, especially in the border areas2.
Persecution and violence have surrounded the Rohingya people for decades.
In 1962, the military that seized power by a coup d’état increased discrimination and oppression against the Rohingya. Since 1978, they have fled to Bangladesh and other places. The revised Nationality Law (Citizenship Law), which came into force in 1982, deprived the Rohingya of nationality and citizenship as illegal immigrants.
Since then, discrimination, oppression, and social attacks on the Rohingya had gradually intensified.
They have been housed in camps, deprived of their freedom of movement, as well as of their basic human rights such as education and medical care. Meanwhile, tensions and armed conflicts between the anti-government armed groups and the Myanmar government intensified, and culminated in the massacre of the Rohingya by the Myanmar Armed Forces, which began on August 25, 2017. It is estimated that over 10 000 people were killed in an atrocious manner, including arson, shootings and rapes. Since that day, more than 700,000 people have crossed the border into Bangladesh.
Today, the camp in Cox’s Bazar in southwestern Bangladesh is home to more than 860,000 people, including formerly-settled refugees.

©Arnaud Finistre

Our Activities

Shortly after the massive influx of Rohingya into Bangladesh, as of now the world’s largest refugee crisis, in September 2017, Médecins du Monde began medical treatment in camps.
Since 2018, when the emergency response took hold, our support has shifted to outreach to people who need medical care but cannot make it to clinics to help them access healthcare.
As time of their refuge goes by, we have been working on awareness raising activities for disease prevention and health maintenance / promotion in the community, and nurturing community support mechanism. MdM works with Rohingya volunteers so that they themselves educate and empower their peers.

©Kazuo Koishi

Our work in host community

©MdM Japan
Since 2017, the environment of the host community around the camp, which took in refugees, has changed significantly. Many international organizations have joined, the number of foreign aid workers has increased, and buildings and hotels have been built one after another in Cox’s Bazar, which has long been one of the most poverty-stricken areas in Bangladesh.
The large influx of refugees revealed needs in essential services for the host community. Against this background, MdM also carries out community health activities such as health education and awareness campaigns in the host community. We are also helping community clinics in their capacity building with local partners and staff.

Together with the Rohingya

Rohingya people cannot see clear prospects in their future. Although the Bangladeshi government, local NGOs, and the international community are cooperating, Rohingya people are spending days in limbo, still longing for returning to Myanmar, which has been greatly affected by geopolitics, and without fulfillment of basic human rights or entitlement to nationality. Médecins du Monde has been supporting people so that they maintain and improve their mental and physical health with awareness of their right to health.

©Kazuo Koishi

1 – Hiroaki Nakatsubo (August 2019). Impact of 1 million Rohingya refugees
2 – Tom Kramer (2012). Real image of Myanmar politics: Merits and demerits of 23 years of military administration and the future of the new administration Chapter 4 Minority Conflict in Myanmar (Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Institute of Developing Economies)
 -1200px-Armed_conflict_zones_in_Myanmar.png (1200×2663) (wikimedia.org)

Rohingya Refugee situation / Our past work


August 25
From Rakhine State, western Myanmar, many Rohingya escaped to Bangladesh due to military crackdown

 December 2017-April 2018:
 Activities to promote people’s access to basic medical care in the camp


  August 2018-May 2019:
  Awareness raising activities on health and disaster risk reduction in the camp


   May 2019-March 2020:
   Health education for the youth in the camp and host community

To commemorate the two years since the exodus, a large-scale rally was organized by the refugees

Bangladesh government cut off internet network in the camp fearing implications of the rally


First COVID-19 case confirmed in the camp

    May-December 2020:
    Project for strengthening community response and resilience against COVID-19 in the camp and host community targeting the elderly and people with disabilities

     July-December 2020:
     Supporting community health workers in the camp

Communication services in the camp were restored

Relocation of Rohingya to the isolated island, Bhasan Char in the Bay of Bengal, began


Coup d’état in Myanmar

 To date, about 1 million people have fled to Bangladesh 

Previous Articles

January 27th, 2021:
Project Report ”People spend their days in anxiety and fear”|Akiko Kida, Medical Coordinator

June 26th, 2020:
Testimony of a young refugee woman living in a camp in Bangladesh -From now on I want to think about the future

June 20th, 2020:
Rohingya Youth tells about its past, present and future. -For Refugee Day 2020, here is what we want to convey to those who are not here

June 1st, 2020:
Rohingya volunteers from MdM speak about the impact of the pandemic in their camp in Cox’s Bazar, where it is said to have the highest risk of new coronavirus infection in the world.

May 19th, 2020:
The coronavirus infections adds to the long struggle for life of Rohingya people

April 24th, 2020:
COVID-19: Access to full mobile data and telecommunications in Myanmar and Bangladesh is essential to save lives, say 26 major aid groups

April 6th, 2020:
Humanitarian community supports Government of Bangladesh in COVID-19 prevention and response in Cox’s Bazar

November 7th, 2019:
Out There ~I want to return to myanmar~

August 21st, 2019:
Two Years On: Rohingya Deserve Justice, A Place at the Table

July 9th, 2019:
Monsoon in Rohingya Refugee camp

February 20th, 2019:
Nobi, 42 -Testimony of Rohingya

December 21st, 2018:
Gul, 63 -Testimony of Rohingya

December 13th, 2018:
Ali (43), Shobeer (30), Dil (63) -Testimony of Rohingya

December 5th, 2018:
Husson, 30 -Testimony of Rohingya

November 29th, 2018:
Shamshu, 25 -Testimony of Rohingya

November 22nd, 2018:
Muhammad, 11 -Testimony of Rohingya

November 20th, 2018:
Jahida, 17 -Testimony of Rohingya

November 16th, 2018:
Testimony of Rohingya

November 13th, 2018:
42 NGOs warn that return of refugees to Myanmar now would be dangerous and premature.

September 5th, 2018:
Médecins du Monde Japan, Strengthening community and resilience support for Rohingya refugees

June 22nd, 2018:
Testimony from the Rohingya, a stateless refugee

December 1st, 2017:
Médecins du Monde Japan Launches an Emergency Response to Rohingya

November 21st, 2017:
ASEAN keeps silent about the Rohingya crisis

September 29st, 2017:
Rohingya Crisis: Doctors of the World Reinforces Activities In Cox Bazaar, Bangladesh

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