The impacts of statelessness
In 1982, Myanmar introduced a Citizenship Law which arbitrarily deprived the Rohingya of their citizenship. Under this law, full citizenship is based on membership of the ‘national races’. As the Rohingya are not considered to be part of these national races, they are regarded as foreigners.
It has been 40 years since Myanmar stripped the Rohingya of their citizenship, and five years since the Myanmar military campaign forced more then 700,000 Rohingya to flee their home country. As Bangladesh does not recognise the Rohingya as refugees, no formal education is allowed and there are few opportunities for work—and there is no safe way to return home to Myanmar. This insecurity has worsened with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has reduced their already limited freedoms and diminished their access to healthcare.
For many Rohingya refugees the situation feels dire, as they continue to live in overcrowded, basic conditions, dealing with outbreaks of disease, and struggling with the traumas of all they have endured. Statelessness has serious consequences in every area of life, and without opportunities for education and work, there are few options for escaping the ‘temporary’ living situations they are in. Long-term, durable solutions are needed for the Rohingya—this population cannot continue to be ignored and forgotten.