The World's Least Wanted

It is extremely important to note that these images were taken in September 2014. The accompanying text was written at a similar time. Since taking these images, the situation in Myanmar has changed significantly and given that the UN has described the Rohingya people as "amongst the worlds least wanted",  it is difficult to imagine what has happened to the people in these images. 

The site of Narze Township, a former Rohingya community was razed in 2012 after inter-communal violence. The residents, amongst other displaced Rohingya were forced into Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps near Sittwe, Myanmar.

In a nation long ruled by the military and rapidly transitioning into a democracy, Theravada Buddhism and Burmese nationalism have long been used to attempt to unify a nation diverse in cultures and beliefs. The Rohingya people, an ethnic minority who have traditionally practiced Islam in Myanmar’s western Rhakine State, fall short of these perceived ideals.

Following sectarian violence in 2012, ethnic Rohingya were forcibly removed from their homes in Rhakine’s capital Sittwe. The city was declared ‘Muslim Free’. Mosques, including the 800 year old Sawduro Bor Masjid, were razed alongside whole Rohingya townships. Hundreds were killed and thousands relocated to Internally Displaced Person’s (IDP) camps far out of the city centre. Conditions inside the camps have drawn international condemnation from human rights groups, leading the United Nations to declare Rohingya as being ‘one of the world’s most persecuted minorities’. 

Fishing vessels beside Than Choun IDP camp.

Rohingya fishermen. These vessels are similar to those used by people fleeing. 

The Baw Da Pha IDP Camp

Than Choun IDP camp

That Key Phin IDP camp. 

Graffiti on a school desk within the Rohingya IDP camp. 

A middle school at That Key Phin township. Students are a mix of both IDPs and members of the local Rohingya community. Regardless of their education, students qualifications will never be recognised by the government of Myanmar. 

Teachers rely on donations and are not paid a government salary. The school is not recognised by Myanmar. 

Abu Katin, 52 yrs, has tuberculosis and is no longer able to eat solid food. He has been prescribed medication by a government hospital but not always the 2000 kyat per round ($1.50 USD). Prior to being forced into the IDP camp, he lived in Mingan quarter.

Mohammed Adul Rahim, 23, originally lived in Marzi before being forced into an IDP camp. He repairs / reallocates his makeshift home after it was damaged by water. He will share this accomodation with three other people. 

A young woman peers from makeshift accomodation at the That Khey Phin IDP camp. 

Mohammed Zar Four 65 of Pouter Township prays in a makeshift mosque at the Saithameggyi IDP Camp, Rhakine State, Myanmar. 

Mounta Bagan, 25, originally from Narze Township along with her three young children were relocated to a small shack in the Than Choun IDP camp after riots in 2012. After her husband abandoned her for another woman, she is left to beg for rice and food. Here she is pictured with her 2 year old daughter Noor Kayeas.

Mohammed Noorson, 35, constructed a structure at the Than Choun IDP camp which he shares with his wife and nine children. The single room structure is where the young family both cook and sleep.

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