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Rohingya people being forced to join Myanmar military 

News Desk || risingbd.com

Published: 22:24, 23 February 2024   Update: 22:27, 23 February 2024
Rohingya people being forced to join Myanmar military 

Myanmar’s military junta is now desperate for new recruits after suffering devastating losses on the battlefield to the ethnic Arakan Army, or AA, in Rakhine state. 

Since November, when the AA ended a ceasefire that had been in place since the coup, the military has surrendered Pauktaw, Minbya, Mrauk-U, Kyauktaw, Myay Pon and Taung Pyo townships in the state, as well as Paletwa township in neighboring Chin state.

Myanmar’s junta is offering freedom of movement to Rohingya Muslims restricted to camps for the displaced in Rakhine state as part of a bid to entice them into military service amid the nationwide rollout of a conscription law.

The enactment of the People’s Military Service Law on Feb. 10 has sent draft-eligible civilians fleeing from Myanmar’s cities, saying they would rather leave the country or join anti-junta forces in remote border areas than fight for the military, which seized power in a 2021 coup d’etat.

Rights campaigners say the junta is drafting Rohingya into military service to stoke ethnic tensions in Rakhine state, while legal experts say the drive is unlawful, given that Myanmar has refused to recognize the Rohingya as one of the country’s ethnic groups and denied them citizenship for decades.

Some 1 million ethnic Rohingya refugees have been living in Bangladesh since 2017, when they were driven out of Myanmar by a military clearance operation. Another 630,000 living within the country are designated stateless by the United Nations, including those who languish in camps for internally displaced persons, or IDPs, and are restricted from moving freely in Rakhine state.