Author and artist: Sami Ahmed
● Myanmar: UN expert to carry out her final mission by visiting Bangladesh and Thailand
● Putin proposes vote on constitutional shake-up that could extend his rule in Russia
● Iran’s foreign minister says nuclear deal isn’t dead, though Britain, France and Germany have launched ‘dispute resolution’
● Despite ceasefire in Syria, airstrikes kill at least 18 civilians in Idlib
Shortwave, 31-meter band 9310 kHz
25-meter band 11570 kHz, 12030 kHz
Author and artist: Muazzem Hussain Shakil
Topic: Interview with Razia Sultana, a Rohingya woman and Bangladeshi lawyer who works on behalf of Rohingyas.
Summary: Sultana was honored with an International Women of Courage Award last April for her work with Rohingya refugees. The U.S. State Department honored her for “her fearless efforts to defend the Rohingya community in Burma, conducting human rights advocacy on behalf of Rohingya refugees, and documenting systematic sexual violence against women and girls.”
Sultana is a coordinator of the Free Rohingya Coalition and also a director of the women’s section of the Arakan Rohingya National Organization.
Author & Artist: Mohammed Idris Abdullah (stringer)
Topic: A Rohingya woman talks about her volunteer work and the challenges of living in a migrant camp.
Translation summary: Sajeda Begum comes from Saindra Para, a village in Myanmar’s Maungdaw township in Rakhine state. She and three relatives left after the August 2017 surge in violence against Rohingya Muslims. They sought refuge in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, and now live in Balukhali Camp 8 East.
While her sister tends to the household, 27-year-old Begum volunteers with the Danish Refugee Council on site management support. The council’s volunteers engage with camp residents, making sure they get services and also organizing projects from gardening to football tournaments. Begum earns 600 takas (just over $7) each day, using the money to supplement basic household rations of rice, lentils and oil or to cover other expenses.
Life in a migrant camp is stressful, Begum said in a VOA interview. The shelters are small, cramped and flimsy. There isn’t enough food. She sometimes is sick with worry. She has trouble sleeping, plagued by memories of homes on fire and people being attacked, raped and killed. Sometimes she cries all night, or else she reads books and other materials on her mobile phone.
Begum appreciates that Bangladesh’s government has provided humanitarian shelter. But like many other forcibly displaced Rohingyas, she said she doesn’t feel wanted here. It’s not her home. She wonders when Rohingyas can return to Myanmar, in safety and with full citizenship rights. She hopes the international community will help provide answers.