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Rohingya: Refugee Crisis in Colour

Ali MC | Burma

The Rohingya have been described as the world's most persecuted people. A Muslim ethnic minority living predominantly in Rakhine State, western Myanmar, they remain a stateless people subject to extreme human rights abuses.

The Rohingya are defined by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, and live in both Western Myanmar and Bangladesh. However, they are not recognized as citizens of any country, and are forced into camps and isolated villages with strict restrictions placed on their daily lives. These restrictions make it near impossible to travel, access education or seek medical assistance, nor can they partake in elements of public life, such as voting.

Since October 2016, ethnic cleansing has been carried out against Rohingya people in Western Myanmar by the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Army). This has included the rape of young women and girls, and targeted killing of Rohingya men and boys. Over 70 000 Rohingya have fled across the Naf River into Southern Bangladesh, where they remain in refugee camps.

 

In 2016 I visited Rohingya refugee and internally displaced peoples’ camps in Myanmar and Bangladesh. My aim was to take portrait photos of people living there, to document the living conditions and to better understand the historical/ political events that forced Rohingya people into this situation. I also wanted to portray the Rohingya with pride and determination, despite their adverse living conditions.

The photos in Rohingya: Refugee Crisis in Colour were shot with medium format film, which proved its own challenges. I was also arrested in the process of shooting in one camp, demonstrating the sensitive nature of this issue.

 

 

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