Saiful Huq Omi has won many major international photography awards and grants. His work has been published in major publications throughout the world, and his images have been exhibited in 23 different countries since he took up photography as a carrier in 2006. Omi has published five photography books. He is currently working on a film on the Rohingyas which will premiere in the near future.
We invited Saiful Huq Omi to submit some images in support of the competition and to help build awareness. These do not form part of the competition.
Mohammad Sayed comes from Chotogozobil village in Maungdaw. When asked, Mohammad Sayed took some time to count the number of deaths in his family. The number is astonishing: 35 members of his immediate family and distant relatives died during the August 2017 Genocide. His own sister was raped. His brother was shot in the head and lost his eyesight. Uncles, aunts and many more were killed.
‘I would never take that NVC card. I have other proof – I have my identity card with me. My family members have the family census photo, family cards and we even have our land documents . While all these establish my life in Burma, the NVC would label me a Bengali, But I am a Rohingya. I am not a Bengali. And I will never except NVC. But I thank Allah for giving what I have here.'
Din Mohammad is 65 years old. He has three sons and they came to Bangladesh after the August 2017 genocide.
“All my family members are from Hasurota village from Maungdaw. My father was born there. I was born there. My great grandfather was also born there. The family census photo taken 8-10 years ago. The photo was taken by the authorities- you can see all my family members there. They write in the NVC card that you are Bengali. How can I be Bengali? I am born in Myanmar, raised in Myanmar. Those of us who could read could see that the NVC card mentions that we will be called Bengalis. And those people refused to take the cards. And once people refuse, they are beaten very badly. They also had to pay a fat bribe to them. I was also beaten. This all happened 4 years ago. Then October 9th happened (2016). Army came to our village and burned all our homes. I am grateful to Bangladesh for giving us shelter and a home. I am thankful to Allah for this.’