1. Home
  2. Asia
  3. Myanmar

Forced separation: life inside Myanmar's Rohingya and Buddhist camps

Ohn Taw Gyi South camp for displaced Muslims in Rakhine state, Myanmar. Some 140,000 Rohingya live in in camps set up in the wake of the 2012 violence that exploded between Muslims and the Rakhine Buddhist majority. About 10,000 Buddhists also remain disp
Tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims are confined to camps in Rakhine state (Kirsi Crowley/IRIN)

After violence exploded in Myanmar's western state of Rakhine in 2012 between Muslims and the Buddhist majority, some 140,000 Rohingya now live in segregated camps. About 10,000 Buddhists also remain displaced by the conflict that still simmers three years on.   

IRIN has gained rare access to both Rohingya and Buddhist camps to sample life and attitudes across the communal divide.


The government has started collecting temporary identification cards from Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine. President Thein Sein said in February that the ID cards would expire on 31 March ahead of a referendum on constitutional amendments.

The authorities say the move is part of a process by which the minority group can apply for formal citizenship, but only if they renounce their claim to Rohingya ethnicity and register as “Bengalis”.

The government considers the Rohingya to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh although many have lived in Myanmar for generations.

Yanghee Lee, the United Nations special rapporteur on Myanmar, said the expiration of the temporary ID cards made the status of the Rohingya, who are currently effectively stateless, even more uncertain.




Share this article
Join the discussion

Help us be the transformation we’d like to see in the news industry

The current journalistic model is broken: Audiences are demanding that the hierarchical, elite-led system of news-gathering and presentation be dismantled in favour of a more inclusive and holistic model based on more equitable access to information and more nuanced and diverse narratives.

The business model is also broken, with many media going bankrupt during the pandemic – despite their information being more valuable than ever – because of a dependence on advertisers. 

Finally, exploitative and extractive practices have long been commonplace in media and other businesses.

We think there is a better way. We want to build something different.

Our new five-year strategy outlines how we will do so. It is an ambitious vision to become a transformative newsroom – and one that we need your support to achieve.

Become a member of The New Humanitarian by making a regular contribution to our work - and help us deliver on our new strategy.

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.