This month Myanmar resumes a process that could grant citizenship to people who for years have been stateless. But the plan involves first requiring Rohingya to abandon the name they have long used for themselves, and instead call themselves "Bengalis," which typically refers to people from Bangladesh. VOA's Colin Lovett visited Rohingya communities in Rakhine state and talked to residents about their situation.
The plight of boat people in the Indian Ocean has been a major topic of concern in recent weeks, as thousands took to the seas on rickety ships seeking work or safe haven. Many are Muslim Rohingya who have been fleeing Myanmar on a regular basis since sectarian violence erupted in 2012. In western Rakhine State, VOA's Colin Lovett rode with the Myanmar border patrol, who say they are there to combat the human trafficking.
It has been nearly three years since sectarian violence swept through Myanmar's western Rakhine State. Tens of thousands of Muslim Rohingya and Buddhist Rakhine people remain in camps for displaced people. Now a boat people crisis in the region has turned international attention back on the Rohingya. VOA's Colin Lovett visited two of the camps to find out how the residents are faring.