Rohingya Refugees Are Receiving Official Identities For The First Time (HBO)

The Rohingya have been called the world’s most persecuted people. The Myanmar government has long refused to recognize their citizenship, instead calling them illegal immigrants and leaving the primarily Muslim minority stateless. But most of those who have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh are now having their identities and ethnicity recognized for the first time.

With the total number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh now exceeding 1 million, the government is undertaking a massive effort to register every single one. The authorities say that 11,000 refugees are being registered every day, and that at this rate, the process will be done by Dec. 12.

At first, the identity cards only stated that the refugees were from Myanmar, but after receiving complaints, they began to include the word “Rohingya.”

Mohammad Ismail, a Rohingya refugee, told VICE News that he is eager to get official documentation: “We are happy. We are globally recognized as Rohingya. Burma rejects us, but we identify ourselves as Rohingya.”

More than 600,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh since Aug. 25, when the Myanmar military began its latest campaign of violence, torture and rape to drive them out of the country. Those who have escaped now face squalid conditions in cramped refugee camps.

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(Source: VICE News,