The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.
Answering the Call of Rohingya Human Rights Defenders
By on September 5, 2019
Last week, during the two-year mark of the genocidal violence in Burma (Myanmar) that forced 850,000 Rohingya people to flee their home country to Bangladesh, we have reflected on the horrific violence, the lack of coordinated international action and the need for justice. Equally important are initiatives of Rohingya people in response to their oppression and forced exile.
Rohingya people in the vast refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar aren’t just waiting – they’re organizing. They’re demanding to be heard on matters that concern them, including negotiations to repatriate them to Myanmar and the use of humanitarian funds in the camps. They’re creating poetry, photography and songs on their experience. They’re demanding greater access to education, while forming their own education programs. They’re documenting human rights abuses and engaging in online advocacy. On August 25, 2019, nearly 200,000 Rohingya people peacefully mobilized to acknowledge the two-year mark as Genocide Remembrance Day.
The Rohingya diaspora has also mobilized. Advocates such as UUSC partners Wai Wai Nu of Women Peace Network and Tun Khin of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK have been relentlessly advocating for action in international fora.
Want to find out more? In Frontier Magazine, one of Burma’s leading independent English news sources, Clare Hammond profiles the flourishing young civil society in the camps, and their demands. In Time Magazine, Rohingya activist Tun Khin calls for citizenship, protection and accountability so that Rohingya people can live safe and dignified lives in their homeland.
Today and every day, we pay tribute to the strength and resilience of Rohingya human rights defenders in Burma, in refugee camps in Bangladesh, and around the world. We will continue to support their work, and answer their calls for action, justice and accountability.
Photo Credit: Muhammed Nowkhim
About UUSC: Guided by the belief that all people have inherent worth and dignity, UUSC advances human rights globally by partnering with affected communities who are confronting injustice, mobilizing to challenge oppressive systems, and inspiring and sustaining spiritually grounded activism for justice. We invite you to join us in this journey toward realizing a better future!