Disability and the Rohingya Displacement Crisis: A Humanitarian Priority

  • Citation: Landry, Michel D., and Anna Tupetz. “Disability and the Rohingya Displacement Crisis: A Humanitarian Priority.” Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 99, no. 10 (2018): 2122–24.
    • Topics:
    • Country and Regional Studies
    • Movements for Inclusion
    • Transnational Issues
    • Keywords:
    • Myanmar
    • Rohingya
    • displacement
    • crisis
    • disability
    • people with disabilities
    • non-governmental organizations

The United Nations estimates that close to 900,000 Rohingya refugees have fled violence and persecution in Myanmar and now live within displacement camps in Bangladesh. The Rohingya are among the world’s most persecuted population because even though they have lived in the Rakhine State of Myanmar for centuries, they are denied citizenship under law. Given their precarious status they began a gradual exodus from Myanmar (then known as Burma) to Bangladesh in the 1970s; however, the pace of this movement changed rapidly on August 25, 2017, as violence erupted within Myanmar targeting the Rohingya. Overnight, tens of thousands fled toward Bangladesh, where they are now precariously posted in temporary shelters on the edge of Cox’s Bazaar, and the deforested surrounding hillsides. The lethal concoction of rapid displacement of people, wedged into close quarters in a location not designed for this population bulge, has created a complex humanitarian predicament. Add into the dynamic seasonal monsoon rains and an acutely underfunded humanitarian agenda, and the result is the anchoring of a humanitarian catastrophe that holds the potential to politically destabilize the region.