The Amnesty International?s Dutch magazine, ‘Wordt Vervolgd? invited six world recognised experts to look back at human rights issue?s of 2012.
It is a special feature of 6 images which represent 6 human rights issue?s from 2012. Last year AI had a similar successful feature by 6 international respected photographers about the arab spring.
The following photograph by Pathshala alumni Munir uz Zaman was selected by Shahidul Alam.
What is remarkable about this photograph is the absence of a gaze. Except for the woman who appears to look straight past the photographer it is as if the refugees have withdrawn from the world itself. Hounded by one nation, rejected by another, they are forced to return to their persecutors. Being returned to the jaws of death by the people they had considered their saviours. Land is the only material possession of an agrarian community. Farmers leave only when no other option exists. Their only hope is the belief that someone will shelter them from harm. Respond to their helplessness.
It is only at times like these that women and children venture out on their own. Facing strangers, men, in lands unknown, they willingly face probable dangers to flee certain ones. Bangladesh is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 protocol, but as a predominantly Muslim nation it theoretically offers a less hostile environment relative to the largely Buddhist Myanmar state which accuses Rohingyas of instigating violence. Given that millions of Bangladeshis were sheltered by neighbouring India during Bangladesh?s own civil war, sending back persecuted Rohingya refugees is callous in religious, historical and humanitarian grounds.
Pages from WV_NR12
Drik intern Nabil Rahman gains top spot in “Clip of the Week” at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism New York, with his beautifully produced video “The Refugee Perspective”
by Nabil Rahman
The Muslim minority in Bihar, India migrated to East and West Pakistan after the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947. During the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, a large number of the Urdu-speaking Biharis took sides with West Pakistan. After the Pakistani Army evacuated the new-born Bangladesh, the Biharis were left behind. Bangalis saw them as traitors, and refused to accept them as Bangladeshis. They were placed in dozens of refugee camps across the country. Meanwhile, Pakistan claimed that there weren?t much similarities culturally or historically with the Biharis other than a common language. They claimed to see no reason to accept such a large number of people. Even though, they are referred to as “stranded Pakistanis,” most of them have never been to Pakistan. The newer generations of Biharis in Bangladesh are slowly starting to lean more towards a Bangladeshi identity. But Urdu is spoken by most at the camp, and some of the newer generations are also trained to read it. There is no common consensus amongst the refugees. Some still want to go to Pakistan. But a growing number of people just want to become officially recognized as Bangladeshis and enjoy the same privileges as everyone else.
Produced for DRIKNews
Version produced for DRIKNews:
A muktijodhdha speaks
Many faces of war
The war that time forgot
Pathshala alumni, K M Asad, Monirul Alam and Andrew Biraj, covering Rohingya exodus to Bangladesh.
Photos by K M Asad