Arabic AR Chinese (Simplified) ZH-CN English EN French FR German DE Japanese JA Portuguese PT Russian RU Spanish ES Ukrainian UK

Jessie Ware: What Rohingya refugees have seen is unspeakable

Latest news

    Jessie with children in the campsImage copyright SIEGFRIED MODOLA

    Jessie Ware says children have been split from their families and seen loved ones die during the Rohingya refugee crisis.

    More than 700,000 people have left Myanmar since August 2017.

    The Rohingya are Muslims who are not recognised as people by the mainly-Buddhist country and have fled to Bangladesh to escape violence.

    “What they’ve seen happen to their family, friends and neighbours is unspeakable,” said Jessie.

    The singer met Rohingya refugees as part of her work with charity Unicef.

    Image copyright SIEGFRIED MODOLA
    Image caption Around 500,000 people live in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camp

    More than 500,000 refugees are living in Cox’s Bazar, a camp in Bangladesh, which neighbours Myanmar in South East Asia.

    People living there say they fled when military troops started burning their villages and attacking and killing civilians.

    Almost 60% of people affected are children, according to Unicef. Many arrive in the camps alone, having walked miles to cross the border.

    “Children were everywhere, young children holding babies as if they were their parents. You can’t imagine what they’ve been through,” Jessie told Newsbeat.

    Image copyright SIEGFRIED MODOLA
    Image caption Rohingya refugees take classes in the camps

    “One girl I met, a 16-year-old called Minara, had watched her mother and father be killed.

    “Then in the chaos of running away from the military, she’d lost her younger brother and sister.

    “She believes she’ll never see them again.”

    Image copyright SIEGFRIED MODOLA
    Image caption Jessie meets mums and their children in the camps

    Yesterday, UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson met Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to talk about the crisis.

    The United Nations has described the situation as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

    Jessie saw how charities are providing food, shelter and education to refugees during her trip in December.

    Image copyright SIEGFRIED MODOLA
    Image caption Unicef says 60% of the people affected by the crisis are children

    “In the camps there are child-friendly spaces where they can draw,” she said.

    “Lots of drawings by children when they first got into the camps were of stick men with guns and knives, pictures of houses on fire. It was incredibly depressing.

    “To see what they’re drawing after a couple of months in the camps is very different. There are flowers and sunshine.

    “Hopefully the art therapy is helping them be children again.”

    Image copyright SIEGFRIED MODOLA

    Jessie said it’s frustrating not being able to help more.

    “I’m an entertainer. I can use my platform to spread the word, but I’m not a doctor, I’m not there working in the camps. So yeah, there was a sense of being helpless.

    “But there was a really beautiful moment when about 20 kids, they said ‘We hear you’re a singer. Would you sing for us?’

    “They don’t speak English, but they were singing We Shall Overcome. I burst into tears.

    “It was wonderful to see smiling faces. You don’t see that in the camps much.”

    View the original article:

    Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 every weekday on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra – if you miss us you can listen back here

    In the same category are

    Could this man’s window boxes get him to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show? This "urban garden" is slightly different from the usual million-pound show garden we see at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.But Rob Dicken from Wolverham...
    News Daily: NHS ‘needs tax rises’ and Yulia Skripal speaks out Hello. Here's your morning briefing:'£2,000 per household' Image copyright Science Photo Library Theresa May has promised to come up with a long-term...
    Collapsed carrot? Pathetic potato? Tips to keep food fresh beyond ‘best before’ date Tesco is removing "best before" labels from many of its fresh produce lines, which it says will help reduce waste.The supermarket said this week that ...
    The Papers: Poisoned Yulia speaks for the first time Image caption Like many front pages the Sun features a picture of Yulia Skripal, who has spoken on camera for the first time since she was poisoned...
    Disabled boy sues theme park over lack of suitable toilet Image caption Adam George enjoys an active lifestyle A severely disabled boy is suing a theme park for failing to provide a suitable "changing pla...
    Stormy Daniels given key to the city of West Hollywood Image copyright Getty Images Image caption West Hollywood proclaimed 23 May Stormy Daniels Day and presented her with a key to the city The Califo...