A Parade of the Mutes
A parade encompassing the elderly, the young, the women, the children. Muted by brutal violence, uprooted and displaced by force; they walk barefoot in the scorching heat of the sun, forced to journey 1000s of miles with no shade to rest under. The eyes of the mute still speak the tales of horror they have experienced and witnessed, the memories haunt them as they march on.. barefoot ..under the scorching sun.
Since August 25, 2017, hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingya Muslims have fled Burma’s Rakhine State risking death by sea or on foot,to escape mass atrocities by government security forces. An estimated one-third of Burma’s Rohingya population of 1/2 million have crossed into neighbouring Bangladesh in recent weeks, while tens of thousands remain internally displaced inside Burma, without access to vital humanitarian aid.
Amnesty International says the Myanmar military has killed hundreds of Rohingya and raped and abused Rohingya women and girls.At least 288 villages were partially or totally destroyed by fire in northern Rakhine state after August 2017, according to analysis of satellite imagery by Human Rights Watch.
The Rohingya have faced decades of discrimination and repression under successive Burmese governments. Effectively denied citizenship under the 1982 Citizenship Law, they are one of the largest stateless populations in the world. Restrictions on movement and lack of access to basic health care have led to dire humanitarian conditions for those displaced by earlier waves of violence in 2012 and 2016.
The UN says the Rohingya’s situation is the “world’s fastest growing refugee crisis”.Before August, there were already around 307,500 Rohingya refugees living in camps, makeshift settlements and with host communities in Cox’s bazar according to the UNHCR. Of the 537,000 refugees who have arrived since August 58% are children, while 60% of the adults are women.Most Rohingya refugees reaching Bangladesh- men, women and children with barely any belongings – have sought shelter in these areas, setting up camp wherever possible in the difficult terrain and with little access to aid, safe drinking water, food, shelter and healthcare.