Rohingya Photo Exhibition launched at Mansion House Dublin

“Ireland, we are seeing a sign of relief, a sign of belief and a light of hope which is being torched by the descendants of one of the greatest tragedies in the human history – the Great Famine of Ireland, An Gorta Mór.”

DUBLIN: On May 19, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Mícheál Mac Donncha hosted the photo exhibition in the historical Mansion House in Dublin.

Opening the event to the audience, the Lord Mayor commented, “The world has been appalled by genocide and tragedy inflicted to your people (Rohingya) by the Burmese State.”

“The Irish government and the EU States need to stand up for Rohingya people. And they need to do it now. The Dublin City County has taken the lead by removing the Freedom of the City from Aung San Suu Kyi,” he urged to end the genocide and take “accountability” for the atrocious crimes.

Mohammed Rafique, a member of Rohingya community in Ireland who has taken the photographs in refugee camps during his previous two visits, said, “Children without parents. Parents without children. Women without husbands. Sick people without medical care. Children without education. Men without jobs. Families without shelter. Rohingya population without hope.”

Rafique is a former refugee himself who has spent more than 17 years in Kutupalong refugee camp after fleeing Myanmar during the Myanmar Military’s “Operation Clean Nation” which expelled more than 250,000 Rohingya in 1991-2.

Speaking at the event, Dr. Ambia Perveen, the vice-Chair of the European Rohingya Council (ERC) stated, “Working through the photos and listening to their testimonies have been very difficult task for us, Rohingya. Documenting their testimonies is extremely painful process – from gunshots, burned alive, gang-raped, children snubbed from their mothers and thrown to fire to the bodies of raped female bodies mutilated.”

She also highlighted the plight of remaining Rohingya inside Myanmar, “Those Rohingya who stay behind are still in great risk. Myanmar is restricting access to life-saving humanitarian aid and assistance. The State now directed to forced-starvation of Rohingya as new tactics.”

Haikal Mansor, the general secretary of ERC who wrote and designed contents for the exhibition, said “Now over a million refugees, which is nearly a quarter of population of Ireland are in refugee camps stranded in limbo languishing the terror of the genocide suffered under the military, haunted by the horror and awaited major catastrophes. It is the most profound human rights tragedy in the modern history – The slow-burning genocide. The world’s leaders have failed despite the warning signs for more than 40 years.”

“However, in Ireland, we are seeing a sign of relief, a sign of belief and a light of hope which is being torched by the descendants of one of the greatest tragedies in the human history – the Great Famine of Ireland, An Gorta Mór,” he continued.

He urged the Irish society “to walk the long journey together for the common humanity” which has “shone the light and shown the path.”

Simultaneously launching a new coalition campaign – Rohingya Action Ireland at the residence of Lord Mayor, Stephanie McDermott from Carlow College, St. Patrick’s, highlighted its objectives, “recognition of Ethnic Status/Self-Identity of the Rohingya; end persecution and genocide against Rohingya; end the deportation of the Rohingya and hold the Myanmar government accountable for their Human Rights abuses; recognition of August 25 as Rohingya Remembrance Day; and return of the Rohingya to a Protected Homeland.”

The photo exhibition was jointly supported by Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), Carlow College, St. Patrick’s, Carlow County Development Partnership (CCDP) and Rohingya Community Ireland. It was the first of its kind recreated the presecutions of Rohingya in Myanmar and the sufferings of refugees in Bangladesh camps.

It was attended by Fr Conn Ó Maoldhomhnaigh, President of Carlow College, TDs, representatives of Carlow IT, Carlow Cricket Club, Burma Action Ireland, students, news media and journalists, and selected audience.