The Rohingya in Myanmar are the world’s most persecuted ethnic minority. The violence against the Rohingya is symptomatic of a long and oppressive history of discrimination for which the Myanmar government is to blame.
They are denied citizenship, education, freedom of movement, employment, the right to own property or marry without state permission and are used as forced labour on roads and at military camps.
In August of 2017 almost 1 million Rohingya were forced to flee genocide and are now living in the biggest refugee camp in the world at Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh.
They are labelled illegal immigrants from Bangladesh thus rendering them stateless, despite many of them having lived in the country for generations. The vast majority of Rohingya refugees remain in Bangladesh, unable to return.
Protect the Rohingya began in 2012 with a handful of members as a response to the 2012 massacres.
We now work with international Rohingya groups and activists. In 2014 we published a legal report, Hear Our Screams, to the UN office for the prevention of genocide on which we collaborated with the Muslim Lawyers Association in Johannesburg. We also have an e-book in our name which we published in 2015.
We have had a speaking tour around the country with members of the European Rohingya Council in 2013 and they met with Foreign Ministry officials to brief them about their plight. We have briefed trade unions as well as various organisations, organised protests and screenings, written articles and assisted with talks for those addressing groups including parliaments on the issue. We are periodically interviewed by students doing their thesis on the issue and have advised 2 authors for their books prior to publishing. We also assist Rohingya activists from various countries on their projects.
In 2017 our legal project took the first all-women legal team to the camps where we took statements from Rohingya who had fled the genocide. These were then made available to legal teams across the world bringing cases for the Rohingya. In 2018 we ran a Winter School in Cox’s Bazar for 100 adult learners, the lessons were very diverse and extremely well received.
Our longest running project is #Black4Rohingya, where since 2013 we ask everyone to join the movement by wearing BLACK in solidarity on the 13th of June every year and to tweet their photos and messages of solidarity to us by using the Hashtag: #Black4Rohingya . It commemorates those Rohingya who were massacred in Arakan State in the second week of June 2012. The 2019/2020 project is oral history relayed - so watch this space!
We are excited to report the most successful #Black4Rohingya campaign in the past 7 years ! With 35,140 posts on Twitter, 3770 on FB & 615 on Instagram. Thank you to all those who participated. Please do sign and share the petition for Bangladesh to lift the internet ban in Rohingya refugee camps:.