The Project

What is Rohingya Project?

The Rohingya Project is a grassroots initiative that aims to uplift and empower the Rohingya diaspora scattered all over the globe through the creation of an efficient, secure and transparent digital ecosystem that can be accessed through a Digital ID as an access key.

Why Rohingya Project?

The Rohingya Project is targeting a central issue the Rohingya diaspora face as a result of statelessness: financial exclusion. Many second and third generation stateless Rohingya live on the margins in their host societies and encounter significant obstacles in generating a livelihood and keeping themselves out of poverty. The goal of the Project is to connect these Rohingya to opportunities to learn, equip and empower themselves and the wider Rohingya diaspora through technology and empowerment. Through the creation of a secure and international Blockchain-leveraged ecosystem, those Rohingya who for years have been sidelined can be given access to a range of financial applications and other services to encourage collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship. The platform will tap into the entrepreneurial potential of the Rohingya community and offer options to counter their exclusion from the mainstream. Over time, the Project will strive to be a space where the stateless Rohingya can organize themselves and support their own on-the-ground and virtual initiatives to further their community's interests.

Is the project just for Rohingya in one location?

No. The Rohingya Project is an initiative to facilitate and provide needed services to the global Rohingya diaspora, with our Pilot phase to run in Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia.

Will you be working with any NGOs or Governments?

We are open to partnership with different stakeholders. We are currently engaging with different parties involved in the Rohingya issue to inform them of the project, upcoming milestones and areas open to partnership. It is important to note though that this project is not under the exclusive purview of any single government though, as it is international in scope. Those interested in partnership may visit http://www.rohingyaproject.com/partnerships.

Who can I contact for more information?

To learn more, send us a message through our contact form or email us at info@rohingyaproject.com

The Rohingya

Who are the Rohingya?

Rohingya are the indigenous ethnic minority of Burma (Myanmar) mainly residing in Arakan (Rakhine) state. The descendants of the ancient inhabitants of Arakan, genealogically linked up with people of Dannavati, Vesali and Chandra to Indo-Arian. Four million Rohingya population are estimated around the world from which more than 2.5 million are forced to flee and live in diaspora mainly in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, India, Thailand, Indonesia and others. Rohingya were listed as ethnic group and enjoyed full right of citizenship of Burma even after the independence in 1948 from Britain. Burmese Military government introduced a new law in 1982 which delisted Rohingya from ethnic group and revoked their citizenship. Rohingya are considered the most persecuted minority in the world. They are made stateless in their own ancestral land, denied citizenship and subjected to systematic persecution for decades.

Why do the Rohingya need to be registered?

Having no nationality, many Rohingya cannot enjoy the rights most of us take for granted – legally they don't exist. As a result, the Rohingya face numerous legal, financial and social restrictions.

How many Rohingya are there, and where do they live?

There are more than 4 million stateless Rohingya worldwide, with less than 1 million still residing in Rakhine state. Some of the countries hosting the largest populations of Rohingya are Bangladesh, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia.

How do you make sure someone is authentically registered as a Rohingya?

A vital part of being recognised as a refugee, and more specifically, a Rohingya, is the assessment and verification process. Our unique multi layered verification methodology is broken down into a series of interviews and assessments that rigorously test on 5 areas: Geographical, Social, Language, Culture, and Occupational.

Why use ethnicity as a basis for entry to the platform?

In Burma, the government officially recognises 135 ethnic groups which are grouped under the 8 nationally recognised “races.” This is established by a citizenship law passed in 1982. The Rohingya, who are a culturally distinct people who have a long history and presence in Arakan what is now called the Rakhine state within the borders of Burma, have all of the features of a common ancestry, language, society, culture, and even Burmese nationality (before the 1982 law). However under the Citizenship Law, the government of Burma were delisted as an official ethnic group. It is precisely this exclusion that renders them stateless because it implicitly and effectively denies them citizenship.

How big is the Rohingya diaspora?

For over 30 years, Rohingya have lived in a limbo of statelessness. Driven out of their ancestral land, living largely undocumented in different countries across the world and denied even basic rights that people take for granted, the struggles the Rohingya diaspora face are severe. As a result of their stateless condition, the 3.5 million Rohingya live as an invisible people on the margins, and are vulnerable to destitution, human trafficking, and other maladies.

The Stateless

Who are stateless people?

As defined by Article 1 of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, a “stateless person” is someone who is not classified as a national by any state under its law. While many stateless individuals are considered refugees, it is not a necessary condition for statelessness. In fact, only a minor portion of stateless people are refugees. Statelessness can apply to individuals in both migration and non-migration situations. A person who has never crossed international borders may still be identified as stateless depending on his or her status.

What problems do stateless people face?

The primary challenges faced by stateless individuals all relate to lack of recognized identification. Many basic human rights taken for granted in most states depend to a large degree on the availability of nationality by the individual. Government and private services require identification such as a passport or national ID card as a norm before allowing access. The ability to open a bank account, visit a health clinic or travel freely within the country are thus denied or made increasingly difficult for stateless individuals such as the Rohingya. As per the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusions’ report The World Stateless released in 2014, “The harsh reality for many stateless persons is a story of lack of opportunity, of lack of protection and of lack of participation.”

What is the difference between statelessness and being a refugee?

Statelessness can occur for several reasons, including discrimination against particular ethnic or religious groups, or on the basis of gender; the emergence of new States and transfers of territory between existing States; and gaps in nationality laws. Whatever the cause, statelessness has serious consequences for people in almost every country and in all regions of the world. A refugee is a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. Often these terms are conflated and indeed there are many individuals who are both stateless and a refugee. But the concepts are distinct. Not all Rohingya are refugees. Not all Rohingya (but nearly all) are stateless.

The Technology

How will you promote financial inclusion for the Rohingya using the Digital ID?

The ID will become a recognized tool to readily identify each individual as a Rohingya and provide them access to basic services, in lieu of other forms of documentation. Over time, as more Rohingya enter into the system, the digital ID will provide additional opportunities for financial inclusion and promote entrepreneurship, collaboration and employment by offering a range of financial applications, such as crowdfunding, microfinancing and peer-to-peer lending.

What is a Digital ID?

A Digital ID is a record of attributes that are used by information technologies to identify people, organizations, and other entities like equipment and machines. The purpose is to cryptographically prove your existence and family relations, recorded on the blockchain, a distributed public ledger.

How is this Digital ID different from existing Digital ID systems?

The Rohingya Project's ID system is an ethnic identification designed for financial inclusion. It is not a refugee card, passport or work permit and is not designed to conflict with any existing form of UN or state identification.

What is the Blockchain? How will it be used to create digital identities?

Blockchain is a digitized, decentralized, public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions. Originally devised for the digital currency, Bitcoin, the tech community is now finding other potential uses for the technology.

How can the Rohingya use Blockchain to overcome current challenges facing them?

Blockchain is decentralised, peer-2-peer, cryptographically secure, and not controlled by any government or banks - which means no single party can compromise a person’s identity. Using their own unique blockchain-based digital identities and crowdfunded resources, Rohingya diaspora communities will have the foundation to empowering themselves economically and socially.

Will there be a charge for the Digital ID?

No, each Rohingya who registers will be granted a digital ID free of charge as their basic human right.

Will the Digital ID be available as a printed card?

Yes, the digital ID may be printed based on request, with a nominal fee charged for printing and delivery.

Will you put sensitive personal data of Rohingya on the blockchain?

No, in line with international standards, private and sensitive data will not be directly stored on the public blockchain network.