Research and writing by Mark Bonta and Rebekah Hanzas
Fleeing genocidal violence in Myanmar, the Rohingya, a Muslim ethinc group, have become a stateless people, severed from their roots and with no home to call their own.
Despite living in Myanmar for generations, authorities there have denied them citizenship, calling them illegal migrants from South Asia, and encouraging violence and atrocities against the entire population.
Now, the roughly 730,000 Rohingya refugees who fled to nearby Bangladesh face an impossible choice.
Their host country has turned against them and wants them to return to Myanmar — where they would remain disenfranchised and vulnerable to ethnic cleansing.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said her nation is dealing with “a crisis which is Myanmar’s own making.”
She said deteriorating conditions in huge Rohingya refugee camps are breeding unrest and the risk of radicalization and militancy.
An attempted voluntary return scheme to send some refugees back to Myanmar proved futile; Rohingya people refuse to return to Myanmar if they are not granted citizenship, which the government there will not provide.
Everyday Bangladeshis, meanwhile, blame the refugees for driving down wages and a spike in crime.
In an attempt to curb violence, and drug and human trafficking, authorities in Bangladesh have cut internet access, confiscated cell phones, and limited freedom of movement for Rohingya, effectivley turning the camps into prisons
Sources: BBC News, Washington Post, Thomson Reuters Foundation