avenues for the Rohingya. We began
working together in 2013.
LINDLEY: What are some things
people should know about the
Rohingya and the history of Myanmar
to explain the government’s violent
campaign against the Rohingya?
PAULOSE: It is important to
underscore that the campaign against
the Rohingya has been documented
by the United Nations beginning as
early as 1948 and then escalated in
the 1970s, with the army in Burma
brutally forcing 200,000 Rohingya
By the 1980s, the Rohingya were
rendered stateless by the government
of Myanmar. The same brutal behavior
of rape, forced labor, and religious
persecution occurred again in the
1990s. The events of 2017 and 2018
are just another part of the
continued intentional and
systematic campaign to
eliminate the Rohingya.
The term “stateless”
means they are not given
citizenship and have no
rights. This includes infants
and children. International
law uses the term "legal
ghosts" to describe stateless
people. So they are not
citizens and, although they
have lived in Burma for
generations, they are not
considered to be Burmese.
a body that works to stop impunity
of perpetrators of child sex abuse.
And she spearheaded efforts to create
a primary care medical program in
South Florida for the medical needs
of human trafficking victims and
Paulose is also the chair-elect of
the World Peace Through Law Section
of the WSBA.
LINDLEY: How did you become
involved with the issue of the
persecution of Rohingya Muslims in
PAULOSE: The Arakan Rohingya
LINDLEY: Can you briefly describe
National Organisation (ARNO) and
the Rohingya Intellectual Society of
Sydney, Australia, contacted me and
asked me to help them raise awareness
and get involved in pursuing legal
Statelessness is a tool that can
be used by governments to purge or
eliminate specific groups.
the situation for Rohingya in
PAULOSE: Two legal criminal terms
sum up the situation for the Rohingya
today: They are victims of "genocide"
and "crimes against humanity."
Because the Rohingya are
stateless and have no access to basic
rights, they are not given access
to basic medical care, their ability
to marry and to bear children is
restricted, and they are confined to
certain places. A better word to sum
up this living situation is apartheid
(which is a crime against humanity).
Myanmar has even gone as far as to
ban the use of the term "Rohingya" and
has directed United Nations diplomats
not to use the term when they come to
Myanmar. Essentially, racism is legal
and institutionalized within Myanmar.
In 2014, the Rohingya were
excluded from the national census.
In December 2017, the U.N. Special
LINDLEY: How does
Rapporteur for Human Rights in
Myanmar was denied entry into
the country after she included an
assessment of the ongoing violence
toward the Rohingya in a U.N.
report. Recently, religious groups
in Burma pled with Pope Francis
during his papal visit not to use
the term “Rohingya.” These are just
three examples of the
lengths Myanmar has
taken toward erasing
the Rohingya from
Burmese history and
PAULOSE: A lot of
the propaganda that
comes out of the
Displaced Rohingya children. (Source: ARNO [Arakan
Rohingya National Organisation], Arakan, Burma).
Left: Map of
Myanmar, where most
Rohingya reside. Red dots
indicate villages that were
partially or completely destroyed
in the government campaign against
the Rohingya, August to December
2017. (Source: Human Rights Watch