A violent, ongoing campaign of state-sanctioned persecution has driven more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims out of Myanmar’s Rakhine State in the last four months of 2017– most of them have crossed the unfriendly border to Bangladesh to escape ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, where Rohingyas have extremely limited rights and have endured decades of government repression.
An attack by a group of Rohingya militants on government security posts in late August triggered the brutal purge by state forces, which humanitarian parties have decried as disproportionate and indiscriminate retaliation against the entire minority Muslim population.
Gruesome reports by human rights groups document systematic assaults on Rohingyas and their villages, including rape, arson, shootings, beatings, and torture by state officials.
Overpopulated refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, a Bangladeshi border city, are rapidly running out of basic resources as the number of new arrivals continues to swell.
Myanmar has repeatedly denied access to international authorities and investigators, including United Nations Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee, making it difficult to grasp the scope of the unfolding crisis. And Burmese civil leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a now-disgraced Nobel Laureate, has downplayed the atrocities against Rohingyas as international cries for her to take action grow louder.
Suu Kyi and Gen. Aung Min Hlaing, head of the Burmese army, could be tried for genocide, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussain said this week.
Below, photographs selected by the PKonweb team show Rohingya families fighting for survival as they restart their lives in Bangladesh.