Intermittently the media has covered the plight of the Rohingya people in and out of Burma (now known as Myanmar). You may have seen stories of boats full of refugees escaping the country and of other countries refusing to take them in, but awareness is scarce. Even finding information for this article has proven to be a challenge with an absence of consistent coverage and lack of statistics.
The Rohingya are a minority group of Muslim people who make up approximately 5% of the primarily Buddhist Burmese population. Their history and the conflict surrounding them is extremely complicated with both roots to the British annexation of Burma in 1826 and religious/political issues. There is also disagreement about just how long the group has existed. Some say for several decades, while others say for several centuries.
Did you know that almost half of the people in the world live in poverty, including almost a billion children? Those living in poverty lack access to a varying number of necessities such as shelter, food, water, and medical care. According to the World Food Programme, hunger is the leading cause of death in the world.
Poverty is a complex issue because the longer it exists, the more it grows. Extreme poverty is defined as living on less than $1.25 a day. The countries that have its citizens living in extreme poverty have been in that state for several years, if not decades. However, it is important to note that in 1990, nearly half of the population in the developing regions lived on less than $1.25 a day. This rate dropped to 14 per cent in 2015, according to the United Nations. Poverty is an exponential problem that cannot be fixed on its own. One simple way that we can all help the issue of poverty in low-and middle-income countries in the long-term is by implementing fair trade.
It has been three months since the earthquake in Nepal. Over 9,000 people lost their lives and several more were injured. The latest figures state that over 117,000 people are displaced from their homes and over two million children have been affected. Like many countries at this time, Nepal is in great need of humanitarian assistance and help in rebuilding efforts. However, disaster relief is a short-term issue. The fate of the country in the long term must be considered by the international community.
Nepal was already listed as one of the poorest countries in the world prior to the earthquake, and moving forward they will not be able to break from their rank anytime soon. However, the country does have the means to be self-sufficient with the right help.
Nepal has many natural resources, particularly minerals like zinc and copper, but they are in limited supply and hard to get to. Agriculture is the largest source of income for the country and employs the most people. Many crops grow in the region but the most popular now are rice and corn. There is great potential for agriculture in the country if they can gain access to newer methods of farming and education. Agriculture will not only help Nepal feed its people, but boost international trading potential.
Lead photo: The National Forum of Bangui during the report on ‘Justice and Reconciliation’ in the capital of the Central African Republic on 9 May 2015.
The history of the Central African Republic (CAR) has been riddled with conflict since it was first established in 1960, but the past few years have been particularly upsetting. In December of 2012, fighting between the Seleka and Anti-Balaka groups began causing catastrophe. Towns were burned to the ground. Men were either recruited to fight or were killed. Women were raped, taken as slaves, or slaughtered with their children.
To complicate matters, there truly was never a good or bad side to begin with. The CAR was a poor country at the start and as seen in every major conflict, upheaval occurred when people felt they weren’t treated fairly. Unfortunately, a few bad people started propagating hate that sparked killing and pillaging. Now there is no way to ‘take back’ what has been done. The scale of the situation has spread and over a million lives have been affected in both the CAR and surrounding countries.
While there has been some international response and the storm has seemingly calmed, rebel groups are continuing to fight for power. Some areas are still controlled by armed militias leaving many who need humanitarian assistance unreachable. More than 6,000 lives have been lost since 2012 and the number continues to rise due to violence and humanitarian crises. As long as these groups continue to terrorize the countryside, innocent people will suffer.