Mary Robinson with Mohammed Rafique and Haikal Mansoor at the Rohingya Photo Exhibition at the World Community Development Conference in Maynooth University.
With the support of Carlow College St Patrick’s, Carlow County Development Partnership and the Teachers Union of Ireland, members of the Rohingya community in Carlow met with Mary Robinson at the World Conference of Community Development in Maynooth. Community Work Ireland invited the Rohingya community to display their photographic exhibition in the library of Maynooth University. Both Mohammed Rafique and Haikal Mansoor walked Mary Robinson through the exhibition which highlights the living conditions of many of the Rohingya in the camps of Bangladesh. Having visited the camps recently with his wife Raficka and his children Jamilada and Wahida, Rafique said ‘the situation is getting worse, the rains have started, landslides have begun, washing away the huts and shelters that many of the refugees have called their homes since arriving in the camps’. ‘We are the lucky ones, we have a safe place to live, friends, food and wonderful support in Carlow, it is our home now’. ‘It is painful for all of us to watch what is happening in both Myanmar and Bangladesh, our families and friends are there, we feel grief and acute pain when we see the images on news networks every day. Rafique went onto say ‘we are very grateful to our friends and supporters in Carlow and in Ireland, we need to keep raising awareness of the human rights abuses in Myanmar and call on the international community to put pressure on the Myanmar government to cease their campaign of terror directed at us’. In reply, Mary Robinson said, ‘it is so important that we hear the voice of the Rohingya and the reality of what is happening at the forefront in any campaign, I will stand with you in your tireless and painful work of highlighting human rights abuses’.