Rohingya - stateless and unwanted
Family members look from inside their vehicle as they approach part of a road that has been cut off from traffic by flash floods following heavy rain in Minhla township, Magwe district, Myanmar on October 28, 2013.
[Credit : Damir Sagolj/Reuters]
A girl holds an umbrella decorated with Myanmar kyat banknotes before donating them to a Buddhist temple during the annual Taungbi festival in Taungbi village near the historical city of Bagan on October 26, 2013.
[Credit : Damir Sagolj/Reuters]
A child standing next to drying bricks at a factory on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar on October 13, 2013.
[Credit : Ye Aung Thuy/AFP/Getty Images]
Children sit at the Janmai Baptist camp for internally displaced people in Myitgyina, Myanmar on Oct. 9, 2013.
[Credit : Aung/Xinhua/Zuma Press]
Photographer Geoffrey Hiller made his first foray into Myanmar — also known as Burma — when he was traveling around Southeast Asia in 1987. At the time, he could only get a seven-day tourist visa, and the best method for changing currency was to arrive with two cartons of cigarettes and two bottles of Johnnie Walker, then trade them for cash outside the airport.
"I’ll never forget flying in from Bangkok — there were no lights at all, and all you could see was the Shwedagon Pagoda," he says of his initial arrival.
"It was very, very isolated. The people would see pens in your pocket, and they would stare at them because they didn’t even have ballpoint pens. They were hungry for very basic things."
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Geoffrey Hiller
Myanmar | October 2, 2013
Terrified Muslim families hid in forests in western Myanmar on Wednesday, one day after fleeing a new round of deadly sectarian violence that erupted even as the president toured the divided region. The discovery of four bodies brought the death toll from the latest clashes up to at least five.
Tuesday’s unrest near the coastal town of Thandwe, which saw Buddhist mobs kill a 94-year-old woman and four other Muslims and burn dozens of homes, underscored the government’s persistent failure to stop the sectarian violence from spreading.
"Like in Korean movies, they have swords and sticks," said Muslim resident Tin Win. "There’s no law and order in this town. We’re in a serious situation, we’re really worried."
Another resident of Thandwe, Myo Min, said a small mosque in Kyikanyet, about 43 kilometers from Thandwe, was burned by attackers Tuesday night. Police said they were trying to confirm that report.
Myo Min said he was concerned about the safety of families who fled Tuesday’s violence. Many families in Thabyuchaing, he said, fled into forests when their village was attacked.
"Many of them, including women and children, are still hiding, and they are cornered and unable to come out," Myo Min said. "They need food and water, and Muslim elders are discussing with authorities to evacuate them or send food."
Most of those targeted in Rakhine state have been ethnic Rohingya Muslims, considered by many in the country to be illegal migrants from Bangladesh, though many of their families arrived generations ago. But in the latest flare-up this week, the victims were Kamans, another Muslim minority group, whose citizenship is recognized.
Muslims, who account for about 4 percent of Myanmar’s roughly 60 million people, have been the main victims of the violence, but they have been prosecuted for crimes related to the clashes far more often than members of the Buddhist majority.
Clashes between Buddhists and Muslims since June last year have killed at least 237 people in Myanmar and 192 of those deaths were in Rakhine state, where Rohingya Muslims, most of whom are stateless, bore the brunt of the attacks.
(Photos by Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters)
An ethnic Pa-O boy dives into the stream while his mother bathes a baby near Inle lake in Shan state, one of the main tourist attractions in Myanmar on September 26, 2013.
[Credit : Minzayar/Reuters]
Buddhist devotees offer gold leaves to paste on to Myanmar’s famed Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda (the Golden Rock) in Kyaik Hto, Mon State on Sept. 8, 2013.
[Credit : Khin Maung Win/AP]