Send the Rohingya 'Refugees' Home

A Rohingya Muslim walks through Jamtoli refugee camp, in Bangladesh (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

The current “plight” of the Rohingya refugees in Myanmar (Burma) is largely of their own making, but of course you won’t hear that from either the media, which has collectively decided that the situation on the edge of the Muslim-Buddhist border is entirely the fault of… the Buddhists, against whom the Muslims have been waging an insurgency, and who have finally decided to fight back, harshly.


The pushback has been so hard that some 620,000 Rohingya Muslims, who are called Bengalis by the Burmese, have fled Burma for refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh. The question is now: what to do with them? Writing in The Hill, a retired foreign service officer named Jeff Goodson has a solution:

For security and other reasons, Bangladesh doesn’t want the Rohingya refugees there permanently. But few think they will return anytime soon because of security problems, persecution, discrimination, lack of citizenship, absence of official papers and the verification process.

What is needed is for the U.N. and other bilateral, regional and non-state actors to start planning for permanent resettlement of the refugees in Muslim countries that already host large Rohingya populations. These are Bangladesh, now with about a million Rohingya, Pakistan with 350,000, Saudi Arabia with 200,000, Malaysia with 50,000, the UAE with 10,000 and Indonesia with 1,000. Since Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were so helpfulin creating, training and arming ARSA, they will no doubt be especially welcoming to their Rohingya brothers and sisters.

The Rohingya refugee problem isn’t going away until the Rohingya insurgency is over. It started just three short months after Burma’s independence in January 1948, and it has churned more or less continuously in Rakhine state for the last 70 years. The latest insurgent attacks precipitated what is now the seventh major flood of refugees to Bangladesh, totaling some 1.3 million Rohingya.


That’s a solution that’s both obvious and impossible as long as the “international community” (including, alas, Pope Francis) and the western media need to use the Rohingya as a club with which to beat the Burmese or any other country that would resist Islamic incursion. But it must be done:

It’s time to end the Rohingya insurgency for good, stop the recurring humanitarian crises, and close off western Burma permanently as a potential gateway for Islamic jihad. Whatever the fate of the few hundred thousand Rohingya still remaining in Burma, the international community should stop setting its hair on fire and focus on doing what it does best: help resettle the Rohingya refugees to countries where they can have a real future.

As long as the media considers the uninhibited flow of Muslims into non-Muslim lands a “human right,” however, the violence will continue.



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