The Rohingya

Rohingya in a New Delhi Refugee Camp,
Courtesy of Syed Saad Mahmood

The Rohingya people of Myanmar have been forced out of their homeland by state-sponsored campaigns of discrimination and violence and have been pushed to find refuge in Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, and other countries.

The FXB Center initiated its first research study on the Rohingya crisis in 2015 focusing on the human security needs of the Rohingya, residing in UNHCR-registered camps, the nearby unregistered camp areas, and in the Bangladesh host community. The project team completed the data collection, data analysis, and writing of the report in 2017.

In a separate effort from the Bangladesh study, former executive director Arlan Fuller and former FXB director (and current FXB Senior Fellow) Jennifer Leaning joined colleagues from Harvard Medical School to publish a December 2016 article in The Lancet on the persecution of the Rohingya. The article, which reported health access and outcomes were consistently worse for the Rohingya than for other populations in Myanmar, received widespread attention and was covered by the New York Times.

Additionally, the FXB Center has remained engaged with key stakeholders as new waves of thousands of Rohingya are attempting to flee persecution in Myanmar and cross the border into Bangladesh. Over the last 12 months, the latest wave of aggression resulted in an influx of over 600,000 refugees into Bangladesh alone. The Center has been vocal about the plight of the Rohingya through its social media platforms, such as the FXB Center blog, Facebook page, and Twitter account.

Current and Upcoming Projects


FXB BRAC Rapid Assessments

In March 2018, researchers at BRAC (the Bangladeshi-based international nongovernmental organization) and Harvard FXB conducted a rapid assessment household survey among 800 Rohingya and host families in Ukhia and Teknaf. Preliminary results are available here. The study underscored the alarmingly low levels of vaccination among the Rohingya in Myanmar, the high mortality rate among young men, the larger number of female-headed households in the Rohingya families, and the low levels of literacy and skills among them – all of which impact planning education services and livelihoods integration for the hundreds of thousands that have migrated in the last year. Our latest paper can be found here.

FXB BRAC Focus Group Studies

Our research teams conducted in-depth focus group discussions with the Rohingya to understand their needs, priorities and expectations around integration, repatriation, livelihoods, education and the future for their families and their children. The study was administered through July 2018.

Read more:

Report citing our research in The New York Times: Rohingya Face Health Care Bias in Parts of Asia, Study Finds

Former Harvard FXB Executive Director Arlan Fuller on Rohingya Persecution

Syed S. Mahmood, Emily Wroe, Arlan Fuller, and Jennifer Leaning. “The Rohingya People of Myanmar: Health, Human Rights, and Identity, The Lancet, published online December 1, 2016