March 4, 2024


DHAKA: 4 Rohingya refugees have gained the 2023 Nansen Refugee Award within the Asia and Pacific class for utilizing audiovisual artwork to doc their experiences of statelessness and dwelling in camps in Bangladesh.


The UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award was established in 1954 to acknowledge people or teams for his or her work serving to displaced and stateless individuals. It’s named after Fridtjof Nansen, a Norwegian scientist and diplomat who turned the primary excessive commissioner for refugees on the League of Nations in 1921.


Rohingya refugees Abdullah Habib, Sahat Zia Hero, Salim Khan and Shahida Win, who’ve been documenting the lifetime of Rohingya with their smartphones and cameras, had been awarded the celebrated UN prize for “portraying the lives of their fellow refugees in truth and with empathy,” the UNHCR stated in a press release on Thursday.


The winners, all of their 20s and early 30s, reside in squalid and overcrowded camps in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh’s southeast.


The coastal district, which has for many years given shelter to Rohingya fleeing violence in neighboring Myanmar, has change into the world’s largest refugee settlement with the arrival of tons of of 1000’s of them following the 2017 Myanmarese army crackdown.


Their return to Myanmar has been on the agenda for years, however a UN-backed repatriation course of has not taken off till now, regardless of strain from Bangladesh amid dwindling monetary help to host the big neighborhood.


“As I’m documenting and telling the story of the Rohingya refugees, I discover each story painful … I see their goals and hopes shattered,” one of many awardees, photographer and documentary filmmaker Habib, advised Arab Information.


“The younger kids and new child infants, I see them prisoners by start.”


Storytelling is for him a option to save his neighborhood from being forgotten.


“I need to hold reminding individuals world wide about our wrestle life and to make them really feel empathy for us, to see our resilience and energy,” he stated.


“We’re very involved that individuals world wide will neglect us simply if we don’t hold sharing our tales.”


Khan, one other awardee, who works as an emergency preparedness coach, has spent his complete life in Cox’s Bazar.


“I perceive the individuals’s struggling and agony on this camp life very properly. I do know the ache of refugee life … I consider in making a change with my photographs,” he stated.


“The intention of my images is documenting … I need to enlighten the following era about our lives, and I need to make individuals from different communities conscious of our on a regular basis wrestle and challenges.”



On this photograph by Salim Khan, one of many winners of the 2023 Nansen Refugee Award, Rohingya ladies are seen carrying firewood at a camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. (Salim Khan)


Hero, a neighborhood volunteer and researcher on the Worldwide Group for Migration, has been concerned in images since 2015, when he was dwelling in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.


He was initially a sports activities photographer earlier than he arrived in Cox’s Bazar together with his household in 2017.


“Kids within the camp don’t have any future and entry to formal training. There are big well being crises right here … If anybody from a household will get any main illness like most cancers, they will’t get therapy right here, they usually can’t afford therapy outdoors,” he stated.


“I need to present to the world that our scenario may be very dangerous right here. We’ve been struggling within the camps for the previous six years. Our lives and hopes have been destroyed. If the world and worldwide neighborhood neglect us, it is going to be an excellent loss for world humanity. We don’t need to be handled as a forgotten neighborhood. The world ought to acknowledge us as human beings.”


Win, the one girl among the many 4 winners, shares the identical hope for the affect of her work. She additionally desires her images to function a way to empower different ladies.


“In our neighborhood, ladies should not allowed to exit of house. Regardless of this, I used to exit to be taught the tales of our individuals … I needed to make the worldwide neighborhood know that we’re additionally capable of do storytelling,” she advised Arab Information.


“The world doesn’t know concerning the wrestle of girls within the camps … If we don’t inform our tales, individuals won’t know the precise scenario. Since many media don’t come right here, we’ve to inform these tales ourselves.”