Rohingya Children Draw Heart Wrenching Photos Of Violence In Mynamar

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“In Myanmar, we weren’t allowed to go to school. They drove us out. They burned our houses. They have to stop torturing us. We don’t want to spend our whole lives as refugees.”

 

 

Since August 2017, more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar to settle in grimy Bangladeshi camps after what Washington and human rights agencies described as “ethnic cleansing” in a violent campaign led by the country’s army.

During the state-sanctioned genocide, the army burned down entire villages, forcing people out of their homes.

Most of these Rohingya refugees are living in refugee camps. Although living under constant fear for their lives has ended for people who made it to Bangladesh, the entire ordeal has left a mark on the minds of these refugees.

Not only men and women recount horror stories, children also have heartbreaking tales to tell.

The non-profit Save The Children asked children in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh to illustrate a message that they want to convey to world leaders.

Usually a child as young as these would draw a fantasy world or their favorite cartoon character, but, tragically the situation of Rohingya children is entirely different.

The drawings were distressing.

The young children recalled the time they were suffering brutalities by the Myanmar army. Twelve-year-old Majuma* drew a person running on a street with damaged houses in the surroundings and some of the houses were on fire.

She then painted knife-wielding men running after the person with blood flowing on the streets.

“I want to go back to Myanmar if it’s safe, and I want to go back to school. If there is no oppression we want to go back. After I am educated I want to be a teacher and I want to teach children,” the young girl said.

10-year-old Mohammed*’s drawing was no different.

He drew a family being shot by gunmen as they attempted to flee. He then painted burned houses with dead bodies lying on the road.

“In Myanmar, we weren’t allowed to go to school. They drove us out. They burned our houses. They have to stop torturing us. We don’t want to spend our whole lives as refugees,” he said.

According to a report by the non-profit organization, one in two children refugees who fled Myanmar to settle in Bangladesh were orphaned because their parents had been killed by the Myanmar army.

Rohingya refugees

These Rohingya children are now living in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar where they suffer terrible living conditions and food shortages.

George Graham, Save the Children’s director of humanitarian policy, advocacy and campaigns, said, “It’s been a year since these children had their childhoods ripped away. The world has failed to hold the perpetrators of these barbaric attacks, including the Myanmar military, to account.”

The anniversary of the violence in Myanmar is nearing and the United Nations warns of what it described as a lost generation of Muslim Rohingya children, with half a million in refugee camps in Bangladesh facing dangers, including disease and floods and those still in Myanmar lacking access to proper education.

“We are talking about risking the loss, or the potential loss, of a generation of Rohingya children. It isn’t just the half a million children or so on the Bangladeshi side of border but it’s also those who are still left behind in Rakhine state, whose access to education is patchy at best and highly limited,” said Unicef spokesman Simon Ingram.

A group of 6,000 members of the ethnic community remain stranded on the border between the two countries and are living on a piece of land that neither belongs to Bangladesh nor Myanmar.

Now, Myanmar has reportedly asked Bangladesh to stop giving aid to the stranded group of refugees who are already living in dire conditions and are completely reliant on aid sent by Bangladesh.

Note: * names of the children have been changed.

Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters, Damir SagolJ

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