Over the past three weeks, a military crackdown and associated vigilante violence in Myanmar have forced 300,000 to 400,000 Muslim Rohingya to seek safety in Bangladesh. The country's actions, which followed an Aug. 25 attack by Rohingya insurgents on police and military outposts, have elicited condemnation from the Muslim world, have prompted the U.N. high commissioner for human rights to call the situation a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing," and have sullied the human rights reputation of Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's de facto leader and the recipient of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize.
The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic group concentrated in Rakhine state near Myanmar's border with Bangladesh. The predominantly Buddhist Myanmar does not recognize the Rohingya as a valid ethnic group and does not grant its members citizenship. The Rohingya share space with another ethnic group known as the Buddhist Rakhine, whose members reportedly have been burning Rohingya villages. In this visual anthology, we present images that offer a glimpse into Myanmar's ethnic divisions and its turbulent history with the Rohingya population.