Myo Thu Gyi was the first village attacked by the security forces. Until now, the area has been completely closed off to foreign journalists, but TIME was granted a permit to visit Maungdaw independently, the first since the violence began.
LANGSA, Indonesia, 15 June 2015 (IRIN) - Nur Yanah can’t hold back the tears when she recalls hundreds of emaciated boat people arriving in her native Aceh province after being rescued by local fishermen in defiance of the government decision to leave them adrift. The new arrivals were Bangladeshis escaping poverty and ethnic Rohingya fleeing persecution in Myanmar.
The administration of President Thein Sein has refused to disclose any evidence the “Myanmar Muslim Army” is real, and this has raised the prospect of the government inventing an Islamic terrorist threat to justify a new front in its longtime persecution of Muslims. All of them were arrested between September and November.
Sittwe, Myanmar - Ruk and Kun Suma were born five minutes apart on March 27 in a camp for displaced Rohingya in Rakhine State, a northwestern province of Myanmar. Their mother, an emaciated 40-year-old woman named Noor Begun, suffers from tuberculosis and is unable to breastfeed them. The family cannot afford milk either.
'I didn’t know it was going to be like this,' says Mohammad Idiris, a Rohingya Muslim speaking from a refugee camp in Aceh. 'If I had known, I would have stayed in Myanmar.' Last October, Mohammad Idiris put himself in the hands of human traffickers in Myanmar. His decision followed years of ethnic persecution of Rohingya Muslims, and it started a harrowing journey of more than six months that never brought him to his chosen destination, Malaysia.
The most controversial aspect of the census recently held in Burma has been the denial of the large Muslim population in Arakan to identify themselves as Rohingya, the term of their choice. The government ban means as many as one million people remain uncounted in Arakan. That is scarcely surprising, as the Burmese government, Rakhine ultra-nationalists and seemingly a majority of the Burmese population have denied for years the existence of the Rohingya identity.
While a war with government troops continues, drug addiction is proving just as destructive in Kachin State. By Carlos Sardiña Galache Photography by Antolin Avezuela Aristu. Thirteen men lie under blankets in a cramped room during the cold winter in Mai Ja Yang, a small town in Kachin State, northern Myanmar.