This week, B.C. Dodge & Mordant welcome a guest from Myanmar. His voice has been changed to protect his identity, and the podcast introduces him just as ‘Mr. R’. For anyone who is unfamiliar with the situation in Myanmar, these measures may seem extreme. But those who are aware of the situation will understand the risks this podcast could pose, even with a concealed identity.
And yet the risk of remaining silent is far greater — in fact it is one of the main reasons the crisis persists. In this podcast, Mr. R sheds light on the devastating humanitarian crisis taking place with communities in Myanmar.
This episode attempts to break that silence. Mr. R explains who these communities are —an unrecognized minority Muslim ethnic group who have been living in cramped camps just 2 kilometers from their original villages for over four years. Close to 800,000 of them are currently living stateless in Myanmar and being denied access to basic services like sanitation and healthcare.
“We cannot implement the typical humanitarian response that we do around the world,” Mr. R says, drawing parallels to internment camps. “Their citizenship has been taken away in systematic manners,” he says. As a result, they are unable to seek livelihood options and are slowly perishing. “You’re not going to see a full ethnic cleansing, you’ll see a partial ethnic cleansing,” he says.
Mr. R describes first-hand accounts of what he has seen. “I have personally seen at least one or two infants dying because they were not able to visit the hospital which is only 100 meters from the camp,” he says. “It’s not an active conflict area, there aren’t bombs going off. It’s a humanitarian human rights issue. The only people in the planet who are stateless …”
Tune in to learn the reality of the situation in Myanmar, and what you can do to break the silence so they are not forgotten. From alerting government officials, to speaking out, there is a role for everyone to play.
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