Rohingya situation in Myanmar

We are naturally concerned about the current situation in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State, and watch the matter very closely, doing what we can - with the help of our partners in the country - to understand and represent the ‘noise’ surrounding what is clearly a humanitarian disaster in as balanced a way as we can. As is often the case at times like this, there is much misrepresentation of the facts, which only serves to distract readers from the key aspects of the crisis.

The welfare of the Rohingya people has long been a matter for international concern, but in 2016 & 2017 the situation has flared to unprecedented levels. There have been many conflicting stories surrounding the exact situation and actions of both sides, with often inconsistent information being circulated, even from seemingly reliable sources. What is certain is that hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have arrived in Bangladesh, and that the aid agencies assisting them are stretched far beyond capacity.

We encourage those of you who can to join us in donating to the Disasters Emergency Committee. Although we usually prefer to support grassroots organisations, in this instance the DEC, which coordinates 13 leading UK aid agencies, is best equipped to swiftly and directly help the Rohingya people.

As a company of individuals who have worked and travelled in Myanmar and across Asia for many years, we try to refrain from taking a strong political position until we feel that the facts are irrefutable. If, like us, you wish to stay informed on this subject, along with many of your more familiar media sources, we feel a good source of information is The Irrawaddy, which you can read online by clicking here. The magazine's editor wrote an article titled, 'The reality in Rakhine and Myanmar’s complex political conundrum', which we strongly recommend reading.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been heavily criticised for her seemingly mute take on the matter, but the country’s political position is complex and the situation is not black and white. To understand more, you may wish to read this informative article published in 2017 by the Harvard Political Review.

Whilst we understand that many clients are likely to share our concern about the situation in Rakhine State, it is very important to note that all the areas to which we send clients remain safe. Our local office and partners, with whom we are in contact daily, inform us that operationally tourism remains unaffected. The advice of the British government, as well as the governments of the United States and Australia, continues to be that travel to Myanmar remains as it has been and there are currently no advisory changes. However, we do appreciate that the ethical issues raised may discourage you from visiting.

As always, we’ll continue to keep our ears to the ground and will keep you updated with any significant changes to the situation. We hope that the situation will be resolved soon and our thoughts are with the displaced Rohingya people.

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