Originally published on August 23, 2019
Five years after the mass exodus of Rohingya people from Myanmar, their future looks as uncertain as ever. Uprooted from their homeland by a campaign of targeted violence launched by the Myanmar military in August 2017, some 700,000 ethnic Rohingya refugees sought safety just across the border in Bangladesh. They joined thousands of others from the community who had fled earlier episodes of violence and abuse. Today there are nearly one million Rohingya living in overcrowded camps in Cox’s Bazar—now the largest refugee settlement in the world.
While the scale and speed of this population movement were unprecedented, this was not the first time the Rohingya had been driven out of Myanmar. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has provided medical aid to the Rohingya in Myanmar and Bangladesh for decades. Their struggles over successive cycles of violence and persecution have long been an underreported crisis.