Rohingya refugee exhibition to tour Scotland

A photographic exhibition of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh is to tour Scotland to raise awareness of their plight.

Simon Murphy's project is being supported by SCIAF and Justice and Peace Scotland and opened at St Andrew's Cathedral in Glasgow on Wednesday, which is World Refugee Day.

Almost 700,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Burma since last year amid reports of extreme violence and now live in poverty in giant refugee camps.

Mr Murphy travelled to the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh in December to see SCIAF's work with Caritas Bangladesh.

The exhibition documenting life in the Kutubalong camp is touring Scotland (Simon Murphy/PA)
The exhibition documenting life in the Kutubalong camp is touring Scotland (Simon Murphy/PA)

He said: "The more attention that the plight of the Rohingya people receive can only be good as hopefully it might move all who see it to do what they can to help.

"Whenever I travel to places such as the Rohingya camp in Bangladesh I am filled with conflicting emotions. I feel deep sadness and helplessness for the people and the conditions that they have to live under.

"I feel guilt that I can return to the comfort of my home and family in Scotland but at the same time feel so grateful that my own children don't have to suffer like the hundreds of thousands of vulnerable young ones at the camp.

"I question my own role as a photographer and what difference can I really make? And then I reconfirm to myself what I know, that people can make a difference and that the images that I have made might strike a chord with someone, and even if they make a small difference, then that is something.

"I really hope that people can take a moment out of their busy schedules to visit the exhibition, and contemplate on how the suffering, the strength, the dignity and courage of others can transform our own outlooks and have a direct impact on how we lead our lives."

The free exhibition will later visit Ayr, Dumfries and Edinburgh.

SCIAF director Alistair Dutton said: "Simon and I were in the Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh together when he took these amazing photographs.

"He has an incredible ability to capture people with all their energy, emotion, hope and pain and these pictures powerfully reflect the men, women and children who saw unimaginable horrors as they fled their homes to escape the brutality of the army in the Myanmar's Rakhine state - along with more than 688,000 other Rohingya refugees.

"I encourage everyone to come and see his travelling exhibition. Simon's pictures tell heartbreaking stories and give real insight into the nightmare the Rohingya people have been through. When you come face to face with his remarkable images it will be impossible not to be moved by them."