Rohingya images sweep White House News Photographers Association honors

Thank you to the judges of the White House News Photographers Association for this immense honor. I've never been awarded an entire category in any competition, and I'm deeply moved.

Last September, my husband quietly recounted the story of a coworker whom he found slumped over on his desk -- weeping. He is Rohingya, and as the unbridled violence against his people in Myanmar continued, he could not contain his emotions, even at work. The story brought me to tears, his complete helplessness, his despair. I had been watching the Rohingya crisis unfold in the news, but it was at this moment that the gravity of the situation jarred me into action. Within 36 hours I was on a flight to Bangladesh where I had never set foot, and knew no one. With my camera, I felt compelled to give voice to the suffering and injustice perpetrated on the Rohingya. The crisis was as heartbreaking as I've ever witnessed.

The Rohingya refugees now total 650,000 in Bangladesh, and Bangladesh is preparing to repatriate them to Myanmar soon as the country buckles under the weight of caring for so many. But the Rohingya have nothing to return to, as their homes and entire villages were burned. In turn, the Myanmar government has not changed it policies towards the Rohingya. They would return to the same apartheid and discriminatory conditions they left. Many are torn, and wish to return, but the trauma of torture, rape and killings cannot be erased. Protests have erupted inside the camps, as refugees demand a voice in their safety.

See the winning images here.

See the body of work here.

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