Myanmar state media describes Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh as ‘IDPs’

Original Global New Light caption: “Union Minister Dr Win Myat Aye meets with people at IDP camps in Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong.” Photo: MOI

An error in today’s Global New Light of Myanmar leaves us wondering – has the government’s obsession with acronyms stripped them of all meaning, or are the country’s leaders simply mocking the world’s impotent disapproval of their crimes against humanity?

In an article describing the visit by social welfare, relief, and resettlement minister Dr. Win Myat Aye to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh yesterday, author Thura Zaw describes the Kutupalong refugee camp – the largest in the world – as an “IDP camp.”

The article goes on to refer to Rohingya refugees as “IDPs” another seven times.

However, not once does the article contain the words “internally displaced persons,” which may indicate that Thura Zaw and his editors don’t know that IDPs legally become refugees when they cross an international border. The article’s several references to the “repatriation process of IDPs” appears to support this theory. The article even mentions IDP camps within Rakhine State that will close once new housing projects for repatriated “IDPs” are built.

Does the Global New Light staff believe we live in a borderless, post-nation state world, where everyone is a citizen everywhere? That would be nice. But more likely is the possibility that they don’t know the difference between refugees and IDPs.

Then again, there’s also the possibility that the folks at the Global New Light, which is overseen by Myanmar’s Ministry of Information and its racist deputy minister, are so insistent that “there is no race termed Rohingya in Myanmar” that they consider Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh to be exactly where they’re meant to be. The fact that the Myanmar government has been promising repatriation for months while destroying the homes that Rohingya refugees fled would attest to that theory.

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