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Exiled to Nowhere: Burma's Rohingya

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The Rohingya are a Muslim minority from Rakhine State in western Myanmar. Recognized by human rights groups as one of the most oppressed ethnic groups in the world, entire families have been forced to flee to neighboring Bangladesh. Image by Greg Constantine. Bangladesh, 2009.

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These women claim beatings, extortion and the seizure of their homes forced 120 families to flee their village in Myanmar in early 2009. Image by Greg Constantine. Bangladesh, 2009.

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Rohingya in the Muslim-dominated north of Rakhine must obtain formal permission from the Burmese authorities to get married. The parents of this 26-year-old could not afford to continue to pay money to receive permission for her to get married, so she was forced to flee to Bangladesh with her fiancé. Image by Greg Constantine. Bangladesh, 2009.

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Blind in one eye after being beaten in the head during forced labor, this man fled Myanmar in the mid-1990s, one of an estimated 200,000 undocumented Rohingya living in neighboring Bangladesh, according to Human Rights Watch. Image by Greg Constantine. Bangladesh, 2009.

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Like thousands of exiled Rohingya, this woman and her grandchild currently live in desperate conditions in Bangladesh. Image by Greg Constantine. Bangladesh, 2006.

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Bangladesh considers most Rohingya to be illegal economic migrants, yet they are an important source of labor. Here Rohingya men work in salt fields near Teknaf, in southern Bangladesh. Image by Greg Constantine. Bangladesh, 2006.

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A group of Rohingya men push their fishing boat back onto shore. According to rights groups, many work as bonded laborers trapped into debt to local Bangladeshi boat owners. Image by Greg Constantine. Bangladesh, 2008.

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In 2008, exiled Rohingya created the Kutupalong makeshift camp in Bangladesh. What started out as a dozen families is now home to an estimated 25,000 people, according to humanitarian groups. Image by Greg Constantine. Bangladesh, 2010.

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Aid workers say conditions for the Rohingya in Bangladesh are some of the worst they have ever seen. Image by Greg Constantine. Bangladesh, 2009.

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The body of 15-year-old typhoid victim Sultan Ahmed is lowered down into his grave on December 20, 2009. Image by Greg Constantine. Bangladesh, 2009.

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Thousands of Rohingya have risked their lives trying to reach Malaysia by boat via Thailand. The parents of 27-year-old Mohamed have not heard from him since he got on a boat in early December 2008. Image by Greg Constantine. Bangladesh, 2009.

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Between 2009 and 2010, thousands of Rohingya were arrested and forcibly sent back to Myanmar during a crackdown by Bangladeshi authorities. Image by Greg Constantine. Bangladesh, 2012.

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A group of twelve Rohingya men between the ages of 19 and 28 were pulled off a bus at highway check post in southern Bangladesh. They had crossed illegally from Myanmar and were attempting to get on a boat to Malaysia. Image by Greg Constantine. Bangladesh, 2012.

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Bangladeshi authorities have stepped up their efforts to apprehend Rohingya before they get on boats for the extremely dangerous crossing to Malaysia. Image by Greg Constantine. Bangladesh, 2012.

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Exhausted from their journey out of Myanmar, a group of 20 Rohingya were detained by Bangladesh Border Guards after they attempted to cross the border. Image by Greg Constantine. Bangladesh, 2012.

The Rohingya are a Muslim minority from the North Rakhine State in western Burma. Over the past 40 years, the Burmese government has systematically stripped over 1 million Rohingya of their citizenship. Recognized as one of the most oppressed ethnic groups in the world, the Rohingya are granted few social, economic and civil rights. They are subjected to forced labor, arbitrary land seizure, religious persecution, and extortion. They have neither the freedom to travel nor the right to marry. Because of the abuse they endure in Burma, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled Burma to seek sanctuary in neighboring Bangladesh.