The Rohingya Flag was raised on the college grounds in remembrance of the thousands of Rohingya who lost their lives in the genocidal campaign in Myanmar in 2017 on Rohingya Remembrance Day on Wednesday August 25th. Carlow College have a strong relationship with the 80 Rohingya UNHCR refugees who arrived in Carlow over 10 years ago, the college also works closely with Rohingya Action Ireland and Carlow County Development Partnership.
Mohammed Rafique, a member of the persecuted Rohingya community spoke about the difficulties and great loss his community has dealt with, before the flag was raised. At the age of 10 Mohammed was among over 250,000 Rohingya who was forced to flee into neighbouring Bangladesh during Myanmar Junta’s “Operation Clean Nation” in 1991-2. He spent over 17 years in various refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, mostly in registered Kutupalong Refugee Camp along with his family. He, along with his wife and then 8-month-old daughter, Jamalida, were resettled to Carlow, where he and his wife have had a second daughter and son born in Ireland.
Community, Equality & Advocacy Studies Lecturer, Stephanie McDermott who is also secretary of Rohingya Action Ireland told KCLR News “In the grounds of Carlow College we will raise the Rohingya flag, this is the fourth year it’s been raised in Carlow College, the first time outside of Myanmar, it is Rohingya Genocide Remembrance Day and it’s a sad reminder of the genocidal acts that took place in Myanmar in 2017 and of course there has been very little justice for the Rohingya despite the independent fact-finding mission in 2020 that stated genocidal acts did occur”.
It’s as Stephaine adds “The raising of the flag in Carlow College commemorates the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who have been murdered, displaced or denied citizenship, continue to suffer horrendous human rights abuses at the hands of the Myanmar military who are now in control since the coup earlier this year so in fact, things are getting worse for the Rohingya”.
College Vice President, Helen Maher raised the Rohingya Flag in front of the college and held a minutes silence at 1pm in commemoration of those who have lost their lives.