For years, Buddhist-majority Myanmar has struggled to deal with a deeply rooted hatred toward the Rohingya in the western Rakhine State.
The refugee emergency unfolded in late August, — after an attack on state security forces by Rohingya insurgents — triggering a brutal military crackdown that has forced more than half of the country’s 1.1 million population to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, creating the fastest cross-border exodus ever witnessed, with over 700,000 new arrivals. Thousands of children who are travelling alone are at serious risk of trafficking and exploitation. Many traumatized refugees arrived telling stories of horror — alleging rape, killings and the burning of hundreds of villages, which have been well documented by the media, along with the United Nations and various human rights groups. The government of Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, still refuses to address any of these atrocities. Human rights organizations across the world, including a recent visit by three female Nobel laureates, state that Aung San Suu Kyi cannot avoid responsibility, calling the violence “genocide.” This further clarifies the discrimination and persecution against the Rohingya community as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing, which are clear crimes against humanity.
Paula Bronstein’s many nominations and awards span decades and represent a lifetime of phenomenal documentary photography. Her work reflects the eye of a dedicated humanitarian photographer. She is the author of the award winning photography book, “Afghanistan: Between Hope and Fear.” For more than 15 years, Paula worked as a staff photographer for a variety of American newspapers. She based herself in Bangkok, working for Getty Images News as a staff photographer from 2002-2013. Paula is currently working as a freelance photographer; her images have been published globally.