Last month Tomas Ojea Quintana, the UN special rapporteur on Human Rights, said that recent developments in Myanmar’s Rakhine state were the latest in a ‘long history of discrimination and persecution against the Rohingya Muslim community which could amount to crimes against humanity’, and that the Myanmar government’s decision not to allow Rohingya Muslims to register their ethnicity in the March census meant that the population tally was not in accordance with international standards. Over the years hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have taken refuge in Bangladesh to escape the deadly sectarian violence in Myanmar
7 year old Shumiakter helps her 5 year old sister Rubiata swing on a rope outside their home in the Shamalapur Rohingya refugee settlement in Chittagong district, Bangladesh. 15 years ago after their grandparents were killed in the sectarian violence in Myanmar their parents fled to Bangladesh.
Rajama sits in the doorway of her home in the Shamalapur Rohingya refugee settlement in Chittagong district, Bangladesh. She fled to Bangladesh 5 months ago from the Dhuachopara village in the Rachidhong district of Myanmar. The Chakma people came on a Friday during prayer time in a giant mob and started burning houses and burning people alive. They beat her father and brother, and then they opened fired and started shooting and killing people at random. A group of people fled to the mosque and the Chakma followed, opening fire inside. Her father fled to the ocean and escaped to Bangladesh by boat. Rajama came to Bangladesh 3 days after the riot to find her father. When she arrived in the port of Teknaf the dock workers held her captive for 3 days with no food or water. They beat her and abused her before letting her go. She has 7 siblings back in Myanmar who were not able to escape. ‘I miss my family, but how can I miss them? I want to live.’ she says.
Rohingya refugees push a boat to land in the Shamalapur Rohingya refugee settlement
32 year old Mahada Khatum, 5 year old Hasan Sharif, and 9 year old Umma Kulsum are seen outside their home in the Shamalapur Rohingya refugee settlement on April 11, 2014 in Chittagong district, Bangladesh. 12 years ago the family escaped violence and discrimination from the Zomgara Baharchara village in the Meherulla district of Myanmar.