Join me Oct 21 – Nov 18 at Pine Street Church Gallery.
Here is a taste of my new “Listening Through Lines” SOLO show:
Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals
The Rohingya Refugee Crisis
These paintings were inspired by the recent work of emBOLDen Alliances (eA), a
nonprofit organization which Bill Rohs co-founded and is the current Board Chair. And by Bill’s work training teachers on the Thai-Myanmar border as well as inside Myanmar in 2010.
In January 2018, eA traveled to Bangladesh to work in partnership with a local organization serving Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals, also known as Rohingya Refugees.
The refugee crisis in brief
The Rohingya are one of many ethnic minorities in Myanmar/Burma and, in early 2017, numbered approximately one million in population, mostly living in Rakhine state. Rohingya Muslims represent the largest percentage of Muslims in Myanmar, accounting for almost 4% of the majority Buddhist population.
Starting in August 2017, another 700,000 more
fled their homelands in Myanmar
and have been suffering from monsoons,
flooding and landslides in neighboring Bangladesh.
Tensions between Muslims and Buddhists in Rakhine state have existed for centuries, and in 1982, Burma’s junta passed a law identifying eight ethnicities entitled to citizenship, notably excluding Rohingya. The government of Myanmar, sees them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. As a result, the Rohingya have been persecuted, denied basic human rights, and become victims of horrific violence.
Before August 2017, there were more than 300,000 Rohingya refugees living in camps, makeshift settlements or with host communities in Bangladesh, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Starting in August 2017, another 700,000 more fled their homelands in Myanmar and have been suffering from monsoons, flooding and landslides in neighboring Bangladesh. Satellite imagery by Human Rights Watch of their home villages in northern Rakhine state showed that at least 288 villages had been partially or totally destroyed.
As a result, the Rohingya have been persecuted,
denied basic human rights,
and become victims of horrific violence.
The United Nations described the latest military offensive in Rakhine as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” and recommended that Myanmar’s top generals be investigated for genocide at the International Criminal Court. However, Myanmar’s military has stated that it is fighting militants, not targeting civilians.
(Sources: BBC News, The Atlantic, and others.)
eA in response
eA’s Executive Director spent January 2018 working with a local organization in Bangladesh assisting the Rohingya refugees.
emBOLDen Alliances was founded on a collective 65+ years of hands-on experience in international development, global health, and large-scale humanitarian emergencies. Having worked in many crises including Haiti and Pakistan earthquakes, Philippine typhoon, Indonesia tsunami, and Kenya post-election violence to name a few, eA uses practical skills and expertise to emBOLDen local organizations and enable them to stand stronger, last longer, and better assist their own communities.
Our work toward the Rohingya response with this local partner included:
- Creating and leading Emergency Response training for international and local organizations
- Monsoon preparedness
- Inventory/Supply Chain Management
- Field Hospital design and Operations
- Integration with Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH)
- Coordinating clinical trainings
- Improving data collection systems of services delivered
- Enhancing Organizational Structure and Operations
- Integrating with UN Humanitarian Sectors and other key organizations