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Life inside the world's largest refugee camp

Dil Afrose Jahan | Bangladesh

Mother with horrible memories

Nur Ayesha, who is six months pregnant, witnessed her elder sister getting raped and killed. She is from Maungdaw. A group of Rakhine men came to her house in the afternoon when they were sitting together. Those people asked for water. When her sister got up to bring water they took her one-year-old son and threw him into the pond. Then they told her to get naked in front of everyone and to go inside the house. Seven of them went inside the house and raped her brutally. But they did not kill her as it was getting dark, so she survived.

Nur Ayesha’s cousin, who is 12 years old, was also gang-raped and is under treatment in Kutupalong. She got skin disease all over her body as she hides herself in bushes, and forest, and did not clean herself for weeks.

The Rohingya refugee camp is the world's largest refugee camp, situated in Bangladesh. To escape the ethnic cleansing, more than 900 thousand Rohingya muslims flee into Bangladesh by foot or by boat. 81% of the current population arrived between August 2017 to May 2019.

Evidence shows that rape has been used as weapon of war, violating human rights.

The Rohingya are a Muslim minority group from the Rakhaine State in western Myanmar. Many died attempting the escape. According to UNHCR, 55% are children.

Shackled to their taboos and still burned with their traditional practices, the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh remain ignorent about proper hygine or nutrition. Moreover, their reluctance towards any form of birth control further handicaps the well-being of their children who keep coming. The camp in the southern district of Cox's Bazaar continues to see threatening levels of malnutrition. Most people lacked clean water and sanitation. Living inside the camp is like a 'jail' for many youth as they lack higher education and employment opportunity. 

I have taken this photographs when I was assigned by the news organisation, Dhaka Tribune where I work as a staff reporter. I have taken all these photograph with my mobile phone as I was alone, covering the Rohingya crisis. Being an amature photographer, I photograph some moments which better never repeats in the history of humanity.

I have experienced the scale of Rohingya exsodus between September, 2017 to May, 2018. The reporting experinced has changed my life personally. I could not sleep for more than a year as I was effected with PTSD. Still, I am afraid of sleeping alone - there are horrible nightmares which comes from the interview that I have conducted inside the camp with survivors, especially rape and genocide.

The Cox's Bazaar sea beach used to be my favourite holiday destination but now I can only see death, fear, and sometime listens to cries, pain of loosing the beloved ones.

Afrose Jahan Chaity

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Email: afrosejahan30@gmail.com

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Address: FlTropical Highway Homes - Ka-32/6, Progati Sarani, Shahjadpur, Gulshan, 1212 Dhaka, Bangladesh

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