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Rohingya children’s art exhibition in London hosted by Amnesty Intl

  • Published at 10:06 pm September 19th, 2019
Rohingya children en route to their schools in Cox’s Bazar
File photo: Rohingya children en route to their schools in Cox’s Bazar Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Rohingya children, who risk becoming a ‘lost generation’, share their dreams in the art exhibition

Amnesty International UK has launched an exhibition featuring artwork by Rohingya children at the Human Rights Action Centre in London.

The “When I Grow Up” exhibition features 13 drawings by Rohingya children, who were forced to flee their homes in Myanmar when the military there waged a campaign of ethnic cleansing two years ago.

The exhibition kicked off on Thursday and will continue until October 4, said a press release issued by the human rights organization. 

The half a million Rohingya refugee children living in the camps of Bangladesh risk becoming a “lost generation” if they continue to be denied an education, it said.

Amnesty International UK called upon the UK government to do more as part of the international community’s efforts to support education for all including the Rohingyas in Bangladesh.

“For the past two years, Rohingya refugee children have had their lives put on hold. They have not seen the inside of a classroom since the Myanmar military violently forced them from their homes. At this rate, they risk becoming a lost generation. 

"The international community must act, and the UK government has a key role to play. No child should be stopped from chasing their dreams,” said Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK.

The exhibition includes the work of a nine-year old who dreams of becoming an engineer so that he can rebuild the homes that were destroyed in his community when the Myanmar military carried out their crimes against humanity in August 2017. 

In another drawing, a 12-year-old sees herself becoming a teacher so that she can educate her community. And a 10-year-old has drawn a plane, depicting his hopes of becoming a pilot so that he can visit his father in Malaysia, where he lives as a refugee.

In Bangladesh, the children currently have no access to formal education. They continue to languish with their families in makeshift camps – uncertain of their future, according to the press release. 

"There has been no accountability for the horrific crimes against humanity committed against them," it said.

Most of the Rohingya say they would like to return to their homes in Myanmar one day, but only if the conditions are right – when peace returns to the area, when the oppressive conditions of discrimination, and segregation that made them so vulnerable in the first place are lifted, and when they are able to secure their rights as citizens.

“Receiving an education will help the Rohingya children build a future for themselves, and their communities. There is only something to gain by helping them return to classrooms. By denying them this most basic of human rights, we leave them at the mercy of criminal gangs, human traffickers, armed groups, and others who seek to exploit their suffering,” said Kate Allen.