Bethnal Green gallery hosts photo exhibition on Rohingya refugees
- Credit: Tony Taglianetti
A harrowing look at refugees fleeing “ethnic cleansing” in Myanmar was on display at The Brick Lane Gallery last weekend.
Foreign Office minister for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field spoke at the opening of photo exhibition Letters From Arakan, which documents the plight of the Rohingya.
The stateless people who sought shelter in neighbouring Bangladesh have reported a brutal crackdown by Myanmar’s military, which the United Nations says amounts to ethnic cleansing.
“I pay tribute to the commitment, energy and generosity shown by the British people, especially the British-Bangladeshi and wider Muslim community in supporting those affected by the Rohingya crisis,” said Mr Field.
“The UK government will continue to work with its international partners to try to resolve this crisis, and to hold to account those that are responsible for it.”
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Speaking at the exhibition in Sclater Street, Bethnal Green, photojournalist Adib Chowdhury said he wanted to give a voice to the persecuted people.
“The situation in Burma has been a horrific tragedy for many thousands of people, and I hope the photos will help to convey the unimaginable pain they have gone through,” he added.
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Handwritten testimony accompanied each photo, recounting the violence suffered by the subject. Refugees report rapes, killings and arson by security forces.
Members of the UK’s Rohingya community attended the event, some of whom met government officials last November to discuss the humanitarian crisis.
Britain has pledged £59 million to support 688,000 Rohingya who have fled to Bangladesh.
“We’re pleased to have been invited to join this event and meet with Minister Field,” said Nijam Uddin, general secretary of the British Rohingya Community.
“The British Rohingya Community really appreciates that the UK Government is standing with us.”
The event was organised by advertising agency M&C Saatchi and supported by Britain Helps, a campaign run by the Foreign Office, Home Office and Department for International Development that aims to “raise awareness of UK aid and foreign policy”.
Government commissioned images of UK aid were displayed alongside Chowdhury’s work.