The Rohingya Muslim minority is an inconvenient ethnic group for the new government of Myanmar.
Burma (Myanmar) has a long history of conflict among its ethnic minorities propagated by an oppressive military junta. While many of the country's 135 ethnic minorities have been subjected to discrimination and human rights violations, only the Rohingya, the Muslim population of Burma's western Rakhine state that borders Bangladesh, have been stripped of all rights including citizenship (1982). They are stateless refugees, now living in IDP camps at the mercy of intolerant Buddhists.
In June 2012, a cortege led by radical Buddhist monks, Rakhine Buddhist civilians (discriminated against in their own right and fueled by decades of anti-Muslim sentiment) and police stormed thru Rohingya neighborhoods in the capital of Sittwe slaughtering people, burning homes and mosques. The conflict (as it is commonly referred to), well-orchestrated by the government, effectively displaced approximately 140,000 Rohingya forcing them into detention camps on the outskirts of the city. Those villages that were not destroyed have been cordoned off. Today, 4 years later (Oct. 2016), be it in a camp or a village, the Rohingya have no freedom of movement, no access to comprehensive medical care or higher education, and they cannot work. They rely solely on NGOs and their own families living in freedom elsewhere.
While the country's historic turn towards democracy should be encouraging, the plight of the Rohingya is far from over and on the ground the prospects for this traumatized minority look rather grim.
is a Belgian photojournalist born in 1955. In 1989 he founded Reporters
, a well-known photo agency in Belgium. He has illustrated over thirty books dedicated to China, Iran, the Renaissance, Ancient Rome, the Gardens of Europe, Thailand, Tuscany, Crete, Vietnam, Budapest, Venice, the Abbeys of Europe, Natural Sites of Europe, etc. Belgian book titles include, Le Carnaval de Binche vu par 30 Photographes, and Processions de Foi, Les Marches de l'Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse. Publications include National Geographic, Geo, Paris Match,... He has won many international awards including a Nikon Japan award for the Who Will Save the Rohingya
series, the TPOTY (Travel Photographer of the Year) award with two series - Living for Death
, a World Press Photo 1st Prize Sport Stories for the series Kid Jockeys
, 2 first prize World Press Photo in 2020 for the series Saving Orangutans
, and participated in numerous exhibitions worldwide. He is represented in France by REA.
Alain Schroeder's Interview