In the autumn of 2019, Rohingya law student Rahima Akhter (Khushi) came under sustained online trolling and calls for her to be dismissed as a student for being a Rohingya and not a Bangladeshi citizen. There were also direct threats of physical violence against her - made online and on campus. The university she attended dismissed her, and her younger sisters were dismissed by the school they attended. Some time after the dismissal, the university reversed its decision and re-instated Rahima. However it did so without providing Rahima with the necessary safeguards to ensure her safety and wellbeing. She has not been able to return.
We invited Khushi to submit some of her own images in support of the competition and to help build awareness. These do not form part of the competition.
"I am submitting these two photographs to the Rohingya Photography Competition. The one of me holding a phone is how my life changed with online hate directed at me on Facebook. It resulted in my university dismissing me. My sisters were also dismissed from school. We are UNHCR registered Rohingya. We were unwanted and foreign bodies in this society. The other picture shows me with some university friends. It is a selfie. Like normal people take selfies, I took this one. Except I am not normal. I am abnormal to be in this context and so my university removed me. And I am unable to study or be with my friends."