Rohingyas, often called the most persecuted ethnic community in the world, close their eyes to tell the world that it is blind to their plight.

Mia, a 64-year-old Rohingya man from Ula Pe village of Buthidaung town in Myanmar used to fish with his wife. He ran away from Buddhist attackers and now lives at the refugee camp of New Delhi,  India, January 15, 2017.
Mia, a 64-year-old Rohingya man from Ula Pe village of Buthidaung town in Myanmar used to fish with his wife. He ran away from Buddhist attackers and now lives at the refugee camp of New Delhi, India, January 15, 2017.

Rohingya Muslims face brutality and oppression in Myanmar, their country of birth, where they are not recognized as citizens. Many seek asylum in countries including India, Thailand, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

But even when they obtain asylum, they struggle to survive and live in dire conditions.

In this photo essay, asylum seekers have closed their eyes to show that the world is blind to their struggle.

A 29-year-old Rohingya man, Anwar Shah, who used to farm with his father before rioters came to their homes and burned everything at Buthidaung town in Myanmar. He now lives in a refugee camp in New Delhi, India.
A 29-year-old Rohingya man, Anwar Shah, who used to farm with his father before rioters came to their homes and burned everything at Buthidaung town in Myanmar. He now lives in a refugee camp in New Delhi, India.

Rohingyas are not regarded as one of the country's 135 ethnic groups and are denied citizenship by the Myanmar government, which officially labels them Bengalis – suggesting they are illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh.

A 45-year-old Rohingya woman, Amina, whose husband lost his life while protecting her and their four children during a violent incident in 2012, at Buthidaung town in Myanmar. (AA)
A 45-year-old Rohingya woman, Amina, whose husband lost his life while protecting her and their four children during a violent incident in 2012, at Buthidaung town in Myanmar. (AA)

Some in the ethnic group, however, maintain they they belong to Myanmar and that citizenship is their birthright, while the government requires them to prove they have lived in Myanmar for 60 years to obtain citizenship.

An 18-year-old Rohingya man, Zahid,, who used to work in a fish-trading factory in Uhlonge village, fled with his family four years ago. (AA)
An 18-year-old Rohingya man, Zahid,, who used to work in a fish-trading factory in Uhlonge village, fled with his family four years ago. (AA)
A 22-year-old Rohingya woman, Noora Shah, from Uhlong village, fled the persecution. (AA)
A 22-year-old Rohingya woman, Noora Shah, from Uhlong village, fled the persecution. (AA)

Paperwork is often unavailable or denied to them. As a result, their rights to study, work, travel, marry, vote, practise their religion and access health services are restricted.

A 30-year-old Rohingya man, Mohammad Saleemullah, from Arkan, Buthidaung town in Myanmar, who had a mini grocery shop in his village, fled Buddhist reprisals. (AA)
A 30-year-old Rohingya man, Mohammad Saleemullah, from Arkan, Buthidaung town in Myanmar, who had a mini grocery shop in his village, fled Buddhist reprisals. (AA)
A 27-year-old Rohingya woman, Fatima,, who fled from Buddhists attacks with her children and husband. (AA)
A 27-year-old Rohingya woman, Fatima,, who fled from Buddhists attacks with her children and husband. (AA)

An OHCHR report earlier this year says the Rohingya face gang rape, killings – including that of babies and young children, brutal beatings, disappearances and other serious human rights violations by Myanmar's security forces.

A 40-year-old Rohingya man, Kareem, from Buthidaung town of Myanmar, who had owned a vegetable shop in his village, fled from Buddhist violence. (AA)
A 40-year-old Rohingya man, Kareem, from Buthidaung town of Myanmar, who had owned a vegetable shop in his village, fled from Buddhist violence. (AA)
A 60-year-old Rohingya man, Imaan Husain, from Maungdaw town of Myanmar, fled the violence. (AA)
A 60-year-old Rohingya man, Imaan Husain, from Maungdaw town of Myanmar, fled the violence. (AA)

In the report, OHCHR commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said that the Rohingya are excluded from a number of professions and need special paperwork to access hospitals, which has resulted in delays and deaths of babies and their mothers during childbirth.

A 60-year-old Rohingya woman, Roema, from Ula Pe village of Buthidaung town in Myanmar, used to work in fishing with her husband. (AA)
A 60-year-old Rohingya woman, Roema, from Ula Pe village of Buthidaung town in Myanmar, used to work in fishing with her husband. (AA)
Source: TRT World