Scenes From the Bangladesh-Myanmar Border, Where Rohingya Refugees Are Seeking Refuge From Violence

Screenshot of a Facebook video by Saiful Huq Omi.

As Myanmar has brutally cracked down on Rohingya Muslims, forcing many to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, local Bangladeshi activists, journalists and aid workers have been there to document their difficult trek.

The Rohingya are an ethnic group who are concentrated in Rakhine state, in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. They are denied citizenship and other basic rights by the Myanmar government, who consider them to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, even though the Rohingyas have roots in Myanmar that go back centuries.

After a militant group attacked police outposts in Rakhine state, Myanmar's security forces retaliated. Witnesses have described troops shooting civilians and homes being burned.

According to UN sources, more than 123,000 Rohingyas entered Bangladesh in the past week alone. Bangladesh already hosts 400,000 Rohingyas in various settlements, who have arrived over past few decades. While the Bangladesh government has resisted accepting more refugees from Myanmar during this current crisis, the Bangladeshi people are largely sympathetic to the plight of the Rohingyas.

Shafiur Rahman is one of the people who have been sharing information from his Twitter and Instagram accounts about the stream of Rohingya people arriving at the border. He is a Bangladeshi-British filmmaker who is working on a documentary about Rohingya women refugees.

On August 26, 2017, he reported that the Bangladeshi border guards were not allowing the refugees to cross:

On August 29, 2017, however, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordered security forces to treat the refugees humanely as they are fleeing for life. Subsequently, border guards began to allow many refugees through.

Rahman also reported that the Myanmar army was targeting innocent civilians as they flee. His information coincides with other sources who say the same. Myanmar helicopters pursuing alleged Rohingya insurgents have violated Bangladesh’s airspace near Ukhia in Cox’s Bazar multiple times:

The journey to the relative safety of Bangladesh is long and treacherous, Rahman reported:

And once on the Bangladesh side, the Rohingya refugees face exploitation by unsavory people as there is yet to be formal shelters and aids available for them:

Renowned photojournalist Saiful Huq Omi was also at the border posting images and videos to his Facebook page:

In a recent video report he urged for people to take a stand against Rohingya persecution:

Thousands and thousands and thousands of people are coming. Look at the faces. Look how young they are. And I hope those who think they're nothing but terrorists, I hope you see this child. You see this old man and ask yourself how on earth you can be such a shame for humanity. This is what is happening on the border. Young child, infants, old man, old woman, and young men are fleeing their motherland and leaving behind the dead bodies of their beloved members of the family. Hardly managing any time to get their things packed […]

They will take this route all the way down the hills and all the way at least few more hours of walk[ing] before they can rest and maybe one kind villager will show up and offer them some food and some water.

Resources are stretched, though the good news is that the Bangladesh government has decided to establish a new camp for the latest influx of refugees. It will take some time to build, however.

It remains to be seen what will happen in the coming days for the displaced Rohingyas whether in their home country Myanmar or in refugee settlements elsewhere.

1 comment

    The recent ongoing innocent killing by Government and Burmese forces is shameful act on society and nation and at time to come Burma has to answer for that. The way minority muslim Rohingya communities are being targeted tortured and slaughtered like animals is horrible to see and hear that too by those followers of Buddha who once preached and practised non.violence and Ahmisa, religious values comes from heart and is depicted by our Karma or actions, but the latest actrocities depict lowest level of demonic actions to defame the followers of any religion.The way the government forces are killing the Muslims Rohingya is really alarming, Every person in this world has the right to live. Remember no religion in the world permits violence in any form either physical or mental. Today Burmese people may think that they are the autocrats. The government and power is in their hands. So they can do anything against humanism and no one would dare to stop or punish them for such heinous acts. But not to be forgotten that all such type of people were shown the proper place by Almighty God and time would come when Allah Rabbul Izzat would take revenge from them. Turn the pages of history and trace examples of many such cruel people with huge fleet of soldiers were even defeated by Almighty God. We could not the surpass the power of God, One cannot go against the principles and laws of God. Allah would surely would punish who ever the culprit is. Today Burma may feel happy and enjoy a lot but very soon time would come when these people would beg for life and mercy. Time does not remain the same it keeps on changing. Remember Allah listens to the prayer of poor, humble and innocent and heart broken people and who so ever would abuse, torture, kill such poor and innocent people God would never ever forgive them. Holy month of ZilHaj is meant for doing sacrifice, Ebadat, charity and generosity all through the month, but Muslim people in Burma are being targeted in such holy month for which Allah would not leave them.
    Who so ever the authority or government they have to answer for such innocent killings. Such incidence has created shame for Burma in international level. People from all developing nations have thrown criticism in all social networking websites and media. Many noted internnatinal personalities have warned to take away the nobel prize of Aung San Suu Kyi.
    George Monbiot
    “Take away Aung San Suu Kyi’s Nobel peace prize. She no longer deserves it
    Once she was an inspiration. Now, silent on the plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar, she is complicit in crimes against humanity”
    Burma the land of peace and harmony has become the den place of human killings. Burma should understand that innocent killings would have no solution to any problems. Hence they should stop killings of people and if they have any moral values left than they should do the rehabilitations of minorities as soon as possible, or the coming generations would never forgive them. Every person has to taste death and has to answer for his or her deeds. So be prepared. Today may be our turn next time it may be yours and henceforth. So one has to answer for all those innocent killing. Every human being in this world has the right to live. We cannot deny fundamental rights of the people. It is government who is responsible for all such crises. They should issue strict orders to such anti social elements who choose such path of mass killings.
    Its is also a testing time and challenge for all the World and espically Muslims nations to come up with some concrete steps and measures for our fellow brotherens. Even we are answerable for our silence. Who so ever should comeup with some strong bilateral issues. Ummah is one and people of World Islamic leaders with post and positions needs to take this issues or Allah would soon ask all the hakims and humkmarans the leaders of the world what you did for……. Rohingya..?

    A cry of a Muslim brother…………..
    Liyakat Shah

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