Reportage Photographer David Verberckt is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. From his project ‘Stateless Rohingya‘. To see David’s body of work click on any image.
A young Rohingya refugee with traditional tanakha protecting the skin. Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh, November 2017
Rohingya child with an eye infection and his father have recently arrived from neighboring Myanmar as refugees. Lambashiya section of Kutupalong refugee camp, Ukhiya, Bangladesh, November 2017
Religious class for Rohingya children that have recently fled from Myanmar, Balukhali camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, November 2017
During the past several years, I have been documenting the plight of the Rohingya Muslim ethnic minority by capturing their dire everyday life in Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the South-East Asia region. Portraying them as human beings deprived of their social, civil and human rights which are so often taken for granted in our society, my intention is to give them a face and increase the awareness of their plight and bring to our attention the too often unnoticed humanitarian crisis and ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya. The continuous decimation of the Rohingya by the South-East Asia area governments, their mistreatment and continuous discrimination against them are crimes against humanity happening even as we speak.
Tosiya, 3 years, from Khasar near Maungdaw. She is in Bangladesh with her parents. When the attack took place she was alone at home and the military set the place on fire. Her father managed to enter the house from the back and safe her, although she was already partly burned. She has been for almost a month in several hospitals after arriving in Bangladesh. Kutupalong camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, November 2017
Momtaj Begum, 30 years old and her sole surviving child, Ruziya, 7 years old from Tula Tuli village in Maungdaw township. Tula Tuli village was attacked by Myanmar military forces on 30 August 2017 and survivors have witnessed extreme atrocities committed by military forces that international human rights groups have called brutal ethnic cleansing with possible genocidal intent. Momtaj Begum had 3 of her four children and husband executed and decapitated in front of her. She was consequently raped in front of her sole surviving daughter who was assaulted with a machete and left for dead. After the rape and the killings the house was locked by the military and set a blaze. She managed to escape with her daughter who had severe head wounds through the back door, while the military stayed in front of the burning houses. Doing so she was severely burned on more than 80% of her body, her daughter has several machete wounds on her skull. They arrived 5 days later in Bangladesh where she stayed one month in the MSF hospital. Her husband and 3 other boy children of 9,11 and 12 years were all burned in the house after being killed. Balukhali refugee camp in Bangladesh, November 2017
A new extension of the already huge Kutupalong refugee camp to shelter a part of the 650,000 newly arrived Rohingya refugees. Kutupalong camp is now sheltering Rohingya victims of the 1978, 1992, 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2017 ethnic cleansing campaigns. By the end of 2017 nearly one million Rohingya refugees live in Kutupalong, Bangladesh, November 2017
Recently, tens of thousands of Rohingya have fled Myanmar, mainly crossing by land into Bangladesh, and those who can manage, turn to the sea to flee towards Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. This recent surge in refugees results from a long-building crisis caused by the discriminatory policies of the Myanmar government in Rakhine state for decades. The plight of the Rohingya is further exacerbated by the reluctant responses of Myanmar’s neighbors to act and their inability and unwillingness to handle the influx of asylum seekers. Successive violent onslaughts have taken place since the seventies with systematic mass exodus. Those security operations amount in most cases to crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, where rape, abduction, summary killings, torture and unlawful imprisonment are common.
Jomila Begum is 18 years old from Tula Tuli in Maungdaw township. The attack on the village took place on 30 August, she arrived with her family 4 days later in Bangladesh. Her husband and 2 year old son got shot by the Myanmar military. While running away she was shot near the belly. Kutupalong refugee camp, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, November 2017
Azida Bibi, 6 years old Rohingya refugee from Sanifara near Maungdaw in Myanmar. She was snatched in her village on 1 September 2017 by Burmese military and forced to drink battery acid. Ever since she has lost more than half her weight as she can’t digest any food and is vomiting constantly. She fled immediately after the attack to Bangladesh where she is being treated in a clinic. An estimated 650,000 Rohingya have fled persecution since August 2017 and a widespread security operation carried out by the Myanmar military. Human Rights groups and the UN have called those operations ethnic cleansing campaigns evolving into genocide. Balukhali refugee camp, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, November 2017
Newly arrived Rohingya refugees in Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, November 2017
I believe that I will be able to raise the awareness about the plight of the stateless and forgotten Rohingya, a story that remains neglected and under-told next to the major world crisis.