'Textbook Example of Ethnic Cleansing': A Timeline of the Rohingya Crisis

This month marks the third anniversary of the fleeing of more than 730,000 Rohingya from Myanmar to Bangladesh.

This month marks the third anniversary of the fleeing of more than 730,000 Rohingya from Myanmar’s Rakhine State to Bangladesh after a military-led crackdown in response to an attack by Muslim militants on Myanmar security posts.

Here is a timeline of events in the crisis:

August 25, 2017 – Muslim insurgents of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) attack 30 police posts and an army base in the north of Rakhine State.

August 26, 2017 – As fighting spreads between the army and ARSA, thousands of Rohingya flee to Bangladesh.

September 2, 2017 – More than 2,600 houses are razed in Rohingya-majority areas in the week following the August 25 attack, the government says.

September 11, 2017 – The UN human rights high commissioner calls the military operation “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

September 19, 2017 – Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi vows to punish the perpetrators of rights violations but does not address U.N. accusations of ethnic cleansing.

October 12, 2017 – Rohingya Muslims are not natives of Myanmar, says the army commander-in-chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, during a meeting with U.S. ambassador Scot Marciel.

November 2, 2017 – Suu Kyi urges people “not to quarrel” on her first visit to Rakhine since the crackdown.

November 27–December 2, 2017 – Pope Francis visits Myanmar and Bangladesh, avoiding the word “Rohingya”, which is rejected by Myanmar until meeting refugees in Bangladesh.

Also read: ‘Yes, We Are Rohingya Sympathisers’

December 21, 2017 – The United States imposes sanctions on 13 “serious human rights abusers and corrupt actors” including the general who oversaw the crackdown against the Rohingya.

January 10, 2018 – The military says its soldiers murdered 10 captured Muslims in Inn Din village in Rakhine during insurgent attacks.

February 23, 2018 – Myanmar has bulldozed at least 55 Rohingya villages that were emptied during the violence, Human Rights Watch says.

March 12, 2018 – Myanmar’s military is building bases where Rohingya homes and mosques once stood, Amnesty International says.

April 11, 2018 – Seven Myanmar soldiers are sentenced to 10 years of hard labour for the Inn Din massacre.

September 13, 2018 – Suu Kyi says in hindsight her government could have handled the situation in Rakhine better.

November 15, 2018 – A Rohingya refugee repatriation effort stalls amid protests in camps.

January 4, 2019 – Rakhine nationalist Arakan Army insurgents kill 13 policemen as Myanmar marks Independence Day, setting off more conflict.

March 18, 2019 – Myanmar’s army says it has set up a military court to investigate its conduct during the 2017 crackdown.

May 27, 2019 – A military spokesman says Myanmar has granted early release to seven soldiers jailed for the Inn Din killings.

June 22, 2019 – Authorities order telecoms companies to shut internet services in the conflict-torn west, an operator says, where government troops are fighting Arakan Army rebels.

August 20, 2019 – The U.N. refugee agency and Bangladesh authorities launch a new repatriation bid, but it fails after no refugees agree to return.

November 11, 2019 – Mostly Muslim Gambia files a genocide case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

November 14, 2019 – The International Criminal Court approves a prosecution request to investigate crimes against humanity against the Rohingya in a separate case.

November 26, 2019 – Myanmar begins a military investigation into killings of Rohingya at Gu Dar Pyin village during the 2017 crackdown. The army later announces soldiers have been punished.

December 11, 2019 – Suu Kyi appears at the ICJ in the Hague and rejects accusations of genocide against the Rohingya as “incomplete and misleading”.

January 20, 2020 – Government-appointed panel investigating allegations of abuse say they had found no evidence of genocide but war crimes were possible.

January 23, 2020 – The ICJ orders Myanmar to take urgent measures to protect the Rohingya remaining inside Myanmar.

January 25, 2020 – Two Rohingya women are killed and seven people wounded when shells hit a village. The army rejects accusations it was responsible from a lawmaker, a villager and Arakan Army rebels.

February 21, 2020 – Myanmar’s army says it will court-martial soldiers over abuses against Rohingya in two more villages during the 2017 crackdown.

April 16, 2020 – Bangladesh rescues 396 Rohingya from a boat adrift for weeks after failing to land in Malaysia. At least 32 die on board. Several other boats adrift for months before landing in Indonesia and Malaysia.

April 29, 2020 – The U.N. envoy to Myanmar says it is committing war crimes in Rakhine after civilians are hit with air and artillery strikes in the conflict against insurgents. Myanmar says the allegations are “biased”.

May 25, 2020 – Myanmar files a report on its adherence to measures to protect the Rohingya to the ICJ. Details are not published.