Young members of the Rohingya people have called upon on the international community to ensure their children do not become a ‘lost generation’ without an education or future.
Speaking on the first day of the annual Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai, Ahmed Ullah and Zainab Arkani said their young people have been left with little hope of educating themselves out of poverty.
The community has faced persecution and what the UN describes as “ethnic cleansing” at the hands of the Myanmar regime.
Ahmed Ullah, who was born in a refugee camp following earlier purges by the government, made it to Canada in 2009. He is now a youth coordinator of the Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative.
“I am begging every single one of you… you can change those lives. I am proof that refugees can do anything as long as you give them a chance,” he told an audience at the Atlantis complex on Saturday.
“They just want an opportunity to contribute to society.”
In 2017, more than 700,000 ethnic Rohingya were driven out of their homes in Rakhine province. Many settled in the town of Cox’s Bazar, just over the Bangladesh border, in what the UN says is among the densest concentrations of refugees today. Most Rohingya are Muslim and many in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar view them as illegal immigrants. In total there are about 900,000 Rohingya in Bangladesh, some of whom fled earlier military violence in 1978, 1991 and 1992.