An RTÉ News Special Report

Crisis in Myanmar

When Aung San Suu Kyi won a landslide victory in Myanmar the world hoped she would bring to an end decades of human rights abuses. Two years on, with the escalating persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority, RTÉ News asks, what went wrong?

This report contains some graphic footage.

Stripped and Confined

Stripped of their citizenship by the Buddhist majority, branded as illegal immigrants and with their movements severely restricted, the Rohingyas' anguish continues unabated.


This 80-year-old woman has fled her home and her country in fear of her life. The UN says the Rohingya are "probably the most friendless people in the world".

Violence and Abuse

The Muslim minority has repeatedly been forced out of areas, the victim of lethal religious violence which is a dark current in Myanmar's bloody history.

Armed Struggle

Rohingya separatists have waged a guerrilla war, off and on, for 70 years. Last November they attacked and killed government troops. In August they carried out further attacks, killing soldiers and civilians, including relatives of this Hindu couple.

'...ethnic cleansing...'

The military swept in to weed out Rohingya militants. The UN says it is ethnically cleansing areas, and that an abused and vulnerable population is being subjected to collective punishment.

Appalling Conditions

About one million Rohingya live in Myanmar, nearly all in Rakhine. After previous violence, tens of thousands survive in appalling conditions in camps there.

Running for their Lives

Over many decades, hundreds of thousands of undocumented Rohingya have sought refuge in Bangladesh. This latest exodus has been triggered by renewed violence. Smugglers or border guards often demand bribes.

Rape and Murder

Again and again, those fleeing speak of mass rape, murder and entire villages burned to the ground. The UN backs up these reports. Aung San Suu Kyi's government dismisses the women who survive, accusing them of lying about being raped, and of burning down their own homes.

The Road to Power

Human rights groups and journalists campaigned for Ms Suu Kyi when she was an opposition politician. During her long years of house arrest she was hailed as an icon of peaceful resistance in the face of a brutal military dictatorship.

Myanmar's Elected Leader

The powerful military is still far from under Ms Suu Kyi's control. She has been called on to intervene, amid criticism for failing to protect the Rohingya. Ms Suu Kyi says tensions are being fanned by fake news promoting the interests of terrorists.

Media Blackout

Journalists are banned from Rakhine state. So is the UN. As aid workers risk their lives, Ms Suu Kyi's government says their accounts of the rape and murder of innocent civilians are lies.

International Outcry

World powers cheered when Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize. Now, amid calls that she be stripped of the award, they are pleading with her to prevent her security forces from murdering more innocent civilians.