Gold 2017 Editorial / General News

Rohingya refugee crisis

  • Prize
    Gold in Editorial/General News, Gold in Editorial/Political, 1st Place winner in Editorial
  • Photographer
    Szymon Barylski

The Rohingya are often described as "the world's most persecuted minority". For several decades, discrimination, violence and abuse of human rights by state and non-state actors has led hundreds of thousands of Rohingya to leave the country and to seek refuge elsewhere. After the military crackdown called “textbook example of ethnic cleansing" in Myanmar in August 2017 where triggered an exodus, more than 600,000 Rohingya people have been escaping from the violence to Cox Bazaar in eastern Bangladesh, it brings the total number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh to over 1 million of which 60% are children. Many of them died when fleeing or drowned in the Naf River because of overloaded fishing boats which transported them. Those who survived walked for days, sometimes weeks, through the river and flooded land, to reach comparatively a safe place beyond the border. They came exhausted, sick, dehydrated, and hungry. Many of them had wounds on their bodies from gunshots. Some of the people arrived without any belongings, bringing only stories about results of the "ethnic cleansing" - mass murder, sexual and physical violence, being attacked or burned. Rohingya Muslims flee from death to a seemingly safe place; now they are forced to live in a makeshift camp where, due to sanitary conditions, they face various diseases. Insufficient amount of food causes malnutrition especially affects children's unhealthy and unbalanced mental and physical growth. The UN Refugee Agency has called the current crisis the fastest-growing refugee emergency in the world today.