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August 25, 2019

Rohingya Refugee Crisis Timeline

August 25th, 2019 marks two years since violent attacks forced Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State, Myanmar to flee their homes. In recognition of this anniversary, we’re highlighting some of the most important milestones in the Rohingya refugee journey.


Early 1990s

The Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority living in Rakhine State, Myanmar, are not recognized as citizens of the country, making them a stateless population. In the early 1990s, persecution of the Rohingya people in Myanmar forces them to begin fleeing to Bangladesh.

August 2017

On August 25, 2017, a violent military crackdown in Rakhine State, with reports of targeted attacks, murder and arson, forces hundreds of thousands of Rohingya to flee for their lives. This marks the beginning of the largest exodus of Rohingya refugees to Bangladesh.

September 2017

Due to the rapid influx of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, UNHCR declares the Rohingya crisis an emergency.

October 2017 

More than 600,000 Rohingya refugees flee to Bangladesh in the first three months of the crisis. Most Rohingya take shelter in the refugee settlements of Nayapara and Kutupalong in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

July 2018

Between July 23rd and July 25th, monsoon storms cause heavy flooding and landslides in Rohingya refugee camps throughout Bangladesh. With over 602,000 refugees in the Kutupalong-Balukhali expansion site alone, overcrowding in the settlements exacerbates the risk of landslides.  

UNHCR responds to this emergency by reinforcing shelters and relocating families to safer ground. 

April 2019

Due to their stateless status, most Rohingya Muslims do not have any form of documentation that verifies their identity. In April, UNHCR begins registering Rohingya refugees, giving them an identity for the first time.

August 2019

As of August 2019, half a million Rohingya have been registered and given documentation that verifies their identity. This documentation will protect their right to voluntarily return to Myanmar when it is safe.

How you can help…

UNHCR is on the ground in Rohingya refugee settlements providing food, shelter, medicine and educational resources. This work helps prevent an emergency within an emergency by keeping displaced Rohingya people safe from diseases, malnutrition, landslides and other risks to their health and safety. By becoming a monthly donor, you can support UNHCR’s efforts in Bangladesh and directly impact the lives of Rohingya refugees.