The Guardian view on the forgotten Rohingya refugees: lives without futures | Editorial

More than five years after hundreds of thousands fled Myanmar, conditions in Bangladesh are deteriorating

The hungry and desperate are now much more so. Last month, the rations to Rohingya living in the world’s largest refugee camp – Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh – were slashed. Another drastic cut is due next month. This is, as a UN expert warned, a matter of life and death. The Rohingya have lived on a knife edge for too long.

Their suffering made global headlines in 2017, when the Myanmar military, supported by militias, launched a murderous campaign that took thousands of lives, forced 700,000 to flee Rakhine state for Bangladesh and was described by a UN human rights expert as genocide. In the last two years, what little attention has been paid to Myanmar has focused on the military’s coup and attempts to crush civilian resistance. But the suffering of the Rohingya began decades ago and continues to this day, even outside Rakhine state. Many had fled before, returning (not always by choice) when they were assured it was safe. It was not. They experienced discrimination and repression, military operations, pogroms and the stripping of their citizenship. The 600,000 or so who remain in Myanmar are confined to camps, subject to government violence and denied essential services.

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Huge fire at Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh leaves thousands homeless – video

A fire tore through a refugee camp for Rohingya Muslims in southern Bangladesh on Sunday, leaving thousands homeless, officials said. The blaze erupted at Camp 11 in Cox’s Bazar, a south-eastern border district where more than 1 million Rohingya refugees live. Most of them fled a military-led crackdown in Myanmar in 2017

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Huge fire at Rohingya refugee camp leaves thousands without shelter

Fears of future blazes after health, learning and religious facilities also destroyed in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

An estimated 12,000 Rohingya have been left without shelter after a fire tore through part of a cramped refugee camp in southern Bangladesh on Sunday, destroying health centres, learning facilities and mosques.

The fire broke out at Camp 11 of Cox’s Bazar refugee camp, which is home to more than 1 million Rohingya refugees, including 700,000 who fled their home country, Myanmar, after a brutal military crackdown in 2017.

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UN warns of ‘unconscionable’ cuts to Rohingya food rations as donations fall

World Food Programme calls for urgent $125m injection after being forced into axing supplies into Bangladesh refugee camps by 17%

The UN has been forced to cut food rations for Rohingya refugees by 17% and has warned of “unconscionable” further cuts in April as a result of dwindling international donations.

The World Food Programme (WFP) said it needs $125m (£104m) urgently to avoid the further cuts.

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Sea ‘a graveyard’ as number of Rohingya fleeing Bangladesh by boat soars

UN figures show number of those attempting to escape horrendous conditions in refugee camps increased from 700 in 2021 to over 3,500 in 2022

The number of Rohingya refugees taking dangerous sea journeys in the hope of reaching Malaysia or Indonesia has surged by 360%, the UN has announced after hundreds of refugees were left stranded at the end of last year.

Rohingya in Bangladesh refugee camps have warned that human smugglers have ramped up operations and are constantly searching for people to fill boats from Myanmar and Bangladesh headed for Malaysia, where people believe they can live more freely.

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More than 100 Rohingya refugees jailed for trying to flee Myanmar camps

Children among those arrested last month as they waited for transport to take them to Malaysia

More than 110 Rohingya have been sentenced to prison by a military-backed court in Myanmar for attempting to escape refugee camps without the proper paperwork.

The group, which include 12 children, was arrested last month on the shores of the Ayeyarwady region as they waited for two motorboats they hoped would facilitate the start of their journey to Malaysia.

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Rohingya refugees bet lives on boat crossings despite rising death toll

Woman recounts suffering on perilous journeys taken to escape oppression in Myanmar and squalid Bangladesh camps

Hatemon Nesa recalled hugging her young daughter tightly as the cramped, broken-down boat they were sitting on drifted aimlessly. They had set off on 25 November from the squalid Cox’s Bazar refugee camp in Bangladesh, where they had lived since 2017, when a brutal crackdown by Myanmar’s military forced more than 700,000 Rohingya to flee over the border.

The 27-year-old, like many other Rohingya refugees, was hoping for a better life in Malaysia. But about 10 days into the journey the boat’s engine stopped working and food and water supplies began to run out.

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About 180 Rohingya refugees feared dead after boat goes missing

Contact lost for weeks with vessel that left camps in Bangladesh and was crossing Andaman Sea bound for Malaysia

About 180 Rohingya refugees are feared to have died after their boat went missing in the Andaman Sea, making 2022 one of the deadliest years for the refugees trying to flee the camps in Bangladesh.

In a statement on Sunday, the United Nations said it was concerned that a boat carrying the refugees, which had left the camps in the Bangladeshi city of Cox’s Bazar on 2 December bound for Malaysia, had sunk with no survivors, which would make it one of the worst disasters for Rohingya sea crossings this year.

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Activists appeal for rescue of Rohingya refugees stranded at sea in leaking boat

Vessel thought to have embarked from Bangladesh is reportedly near Malaysia with 160 people onboard who have no food or water

Activists have called for urgent assistance to rescue 160 Rohingya refugees, including young children, who they say are stranded at sea on a damaged boat and have been without food or water for days.

The boat, which activists say is near Malaysian waters, is believed to have left on 25 November from Bangladesh, where almost 1 million Rohingya live in squalid and cramped refugee camps.

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World has left Bangladesh to shelter 1m Rohingya refugees alone, says minister

Shahriar Alam criticises international community for doing ‘absolutely nothing’ to press Myanmar’s junta to guarantee a safe return

The world has done “absolutely nothing” to ensure safety in Myanmar for its persecuted Rohingya minority, said Bangladesh’s foreign minister, complaining that his country is sheltering more than 1 million refugees without support.

Foreign minister Shahriar Alam told the Guardian financial support for the Rohingya has decreased each year and there has been no real progress towards repatriation in the five years since more than 700,000 fled massacres by Myanmar’s military. That wave, in August 2017, joined approximately 300,000 people that had already fled Myanmar because of previous security crackdowns.

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Midwives review – a Muslim and a Buddhist grapple with childbirth in strife-torn Myanmar

Sombre documentary shot over five years follows two healthcare workers as they deliver babies in a brutally divided society

Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing’s documentary is about two midwives – one Buddhist, one Muslim – in Rakhine state in western Myanmar, on the border with Bangladesh; it is home to thousands of Rohingya Muslims who for decades have suffered paranoid bigotry from the country’s Buddhist theocracy. And like Barbet Schroeder’s film The Venerable W, this film is a reminder that, in this part of the world, being of the Buddhist persuasion doesn’t necessarily make you a kind and gentle saint.

Hla is the Buddhist midwife, notably imperious and sharp-tongued, who at one stage tries getting some medicine into a baby girl and hilariously snaps: “Take it, you little bitch!” Nyo Nyo is the Muslim who is intensely aware of the prejudice all around her and uneasily watches news reports of demonstrations against Muslims and “Muslim supporters”, which means her employers. She finally attempts to set up her own clinic, with the help of a savings-and-loan collective of Muslim women; this is all to the distinct scepticism of her Buddhist colleague, although their essential friendship asserts itself.

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‘This is our documentary of the crisis we face’: the Rohingya smartphone photographers

Refugees who have fled Myanmar describe the risks and their sense of duty – as well as joy – in recording life around them in the sprawling camps of Bangladesh

The camera of a budget smartphone has become a way for many of the Rohingya stuck in Bangladesh’s refugee camps to tell their own stories, capturing photos of their lives in the camps, which became the world’s largest when 700,000 people fled the Myanmar military five years ago, joining 300,000 who had already sought refuge across the border.

These photographers, who are all under 30, are building a record of the culture and traditions they fear could be lost so far from home, and have sharpened their skills during floods and fires and other all too frequent moments of crisis.

Zaudha, 40, stares out over the smouldering remains of her home after the largest of the camp fires, in March 2021, when 50,000 lost their homes. The smoke and heat was still too intense for her to go down to the exact spot she lived in.

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Women behind the lens: silent and alone, Nur hopes for a greener future

In the sweltering summer of the Rohingya refugee camp at Cox’s Bazar, Ishrat Fori Imran photographed a young girl planting tiny trees in bottle tops

Nur Asma is 10 years old. She lives in the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, with her family. She has four siblings; she is the third child in the family.

Nur loves creative play – crafting, making horses and utensils out of mud, making a chicken coop from bamboo, that sort of thing, and she loves studying too. She is very shy and introverted. She does everything silently and plays alone. Perhaps she just loves spending time alone. She is a girl who wants to create something new by herself and doesn’t want to copy from others.

Ishrat Fori Imran is a Rohingya refugee photographer who uses a smartphone to document life in the camp. Her work has featured in Rohingyatography magazine

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Five years after the crackdown, Myanmar’s remaining Rohingya ‘living like animals’

While 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar after 25 August 2017, 600,000 remain, facing harsh restrictions on movement, persecution and poverty

Five years ago Muhammad*, his wife and two children sheltered at their home, terrified as they heard of violence tearing through nearby villages. The Myanmar military had launched so-called “clearance operations” in northern Rakhine state, forcing huge numbers of Rohingya people to flee into neighbouring Bangladesh.

“If we remember those times, to be honest, it’s difficult to eat or sleep,” he says. “25 August was one of the black days for Rohingya.”

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Rohingya crisis: plight of Myanmar’s displaced people explained in 30 seconds

One million Rohingya remain in Bangladesh refugee camps and the persecuted group has little hope of returning to Myanmar

It has been five years since Myanmar’s military launched a campaign of massacres that killed about 7,000 Rohingya in a single month and compelled 700,000 to flee for the Bangladeshi border.

Since the first major military operation against the Rohingya minority in 1978, which forced out 200,000, the Rohingya have been collectively stripped of their citizenship and targeted by increasing violence and discrimination that culminated in the “clearance operations” that began on 25 August 2017. Those operations were years in the planning, according to military documents uncovered by the Commission for International Justice and Accountability and sent to the international criminal court.

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