Timeline: Rohingya persecution in Myanmar

Violence between Muslim and Buddhist communities in Myanmar is a relatively new dynamic. But military targeting of the Rohingya has become a recurring event.

Here is a timeline of the Myanmar’s fight against ethnic minorities in the country.

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  • Operation Dragon King. The military’s first effort to expel the Rohingya came in 1978. The following year, the international community and Bangladesh government convinced Myanmar (then known as Burma) to repatriate almost all of those pushed out.
    • (Read more on Operation Dragon King, the Myanmar military’s first operation to clear the Rohingya.)


  • Operation Clean and Beautiful Nation. The military’s second and largest Rohingya clearance operation until 2017. Over 250,000 Rohingya were pushed into neighboring Bangladesh. Bangladesh authorities were accused of using excessive force to register refugees and restore order. Most of the refugees were repatriated over a span on six years despite the United Nations warning that the Rohingya were returning to repressive conditions. (Human Rights Watch). 


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  • August 25: The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), a Rohingya militant group, attacked a police outpost in Rakhine State, killing nine officers. The Myanmar government responded with an offensive campaign aimed at eliminating what it called a terrorist organization.


  • January 16: Myanmar and Bangladesh agree to terms to repatriate roughly 740,000 Rohingya refugees who fled from Rakhine State to Bangladesh between October 2016 and December 2017. The agreement calls for 300 Rohingya per day to be repatriated on a voluntary basis.
  • August 27: A U.N. report says that Myanmar’s military chiefs should be prosecuted for war crimes after discovering that mass killings and gang rapes of Muslim Rohingya had “genocidal intent.

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