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Ro Yassin Abdumonab

Photo-journalist, Videographer, Stringer, Rohingya Correspondent, Mentor and Social Activist

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Ro Yassin Abdumonab began his career as a school teacher in Myanmar, teaching English, physics, and chemistry. However, in August 2017, escalating violence forced him to abandon his university studies and 

flee to Bangladesh. 

 

“My journey to Bangladesh was horrible,” he says, closely echoing his original words. “Escaping from burning and killing, we found refuge in paddy fields and forests, eating wild weeds to survive. The river crossing felt like an ocean, and I almost drowned. The days it took for me and my family to walk barefoot to the river at the Bangladesh border were an unforgettable nightmare.”

 

Yassin has since transitioned into a freelance role, contributing as a photographer, videographer, translator, fixer, and writer for various international and local media outlets. These include: The Guardian, AlJazeera, Reuters, BBC, The Washington Post, ABC, and many others. Yassin is a core member of Rohingyatographer and plays a crucial role mentoring younger generations of Rohingya content creators. 

 

When he first arrived at the refugee camp, Yassin had to assist international journalists as a fixer and interpreter. This exposed him to photography and videography, sparking his interest in documenting the Rohingya community’s life. 

 

Reflecting on his early work, Yassin shared, “I refrained from using my 

real name online due to safety concerns.”

 

Motivated by well-known journalists, Yassin transitioned into photography, finding purpose in capturing his community’s stories. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, he continued his work, covering significant events like the 2021 fire disaster. His photos gained international recognition, leading to assignments on various Rohingya crisis-related topics.

 

Yassin’s expertise in photojournalism has garnered recommendations and inquiries, facilitating his work through social media and portfolio sites. He emphasises the importance of telling the Rohingya story repeatedly through photography, a sentiment echoed in his involvement with Rohingyatographer Magazine.

 

As a core member of Rohingyatographer, Yassin mentors young Rohingya photographers, empowering them to share their perspectives. Through their art, they educate others about the Rohingya experience, ensuring their voices are heard and remembered. 

 

Reflecting on his mission, Yassin emphasised, “My camera gives a voice to my community, capturing every moment, every Rohingya story.”

 

In teaching photography to youths, Yassin believes in the power of images to convey stories and preserve the Rohingya narrative. His message to aspiring photographers echoes his own journey: 

 

“Make the best photos with whatever devices you have. What matters is your effort and imagination to tell impactful stories.”

A comprehensive list of his photography and videography work can be found below:

2024

ZDF. Life in a mass refugee camp: the suffering of Rohingya women

Aljazeera. Abductions in Myanmar: Rohingya Muslims forced to fight for army

Muslim Views. Rohingya youth photographers capture the lived experience in the world’s largest refugee camp

Curtin University Sarawak. The photographic social experience of Rohingya youngsters of Cox's Bazar: an interview with Ro Yassin Abdumonab

MSF. Sharing the Rohingya story in photos

Reuters. Fire leaves nearly 7,000 Rohingya homeless in Bangladesh camp

The Contrapuntal. Political Witch-Hunt Worsen Rohingya Torment in India

2023

Aljazeera. What is life like inside the world’s biggest refugee camp?

The New Humanitarian. Flipping the Narrative: What food ration cuts mean for Rohingya refugee

deKanttekening. Islamic Rohingyas are nowhere safe

The Observers. Refugee photographers fight to raise awareness about plight of Rohingya in Bangladesh

Aljazeera. Will the UN's plea to help Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh be answered?

BBC. Fire rips through Rohingya camp in Bangladesh

Aljazeera: Myanmar military's visit to Cox's Bazar refugee camp raises doubt

BBC. What future for Anwar - the Rohingya refugee lucky to survive?

Aljazeera. Thousands of Rohingya refugees displaced in Bangladesh floods, landslides

The Observers. Thousands of Rohingya left homeless after yet another fire breaks out in Bangladesh refugee camp

The Daily Star. Ukhiya Rohingya camp fire: Official death toll 11

Reuters. Devastating’ fire at Rohingya camp in Bangladesh kills 15, leaves 400 missing – UN

Vientiane Times. Ukhiya Rohingya Camp: Massive fire razes homes

Today Online. Fire destroys homes Cox's Bazar refugee camp in Bangladesh

US News. Fire Destroys Homes Cox's Bazar Refugee Camp in Bangladesh

Art for Peace. Insecurity, Risk and Resilience: The Contributions and Challenges of Refugee-led Initiatives in Rohingya Refugee Camps in Bangladesh

Media Practice and Education, Taylor & Francis. Digital Arts – Refugee Engagement (DA-RE)

Zita TV

2022

The Guardian. ‘This is our documentary of the crisis we face’: the Rohingya smartphone photographers

Canada Today. Canada’s Rohingya fear world has forgotten the refugee crisis 5 years after the Myanmar genocide

BBC. Rohingya refugees: ‘Kill us, but don’t deport us to Myanmar’

2021

BBC. Hundreds missing after devastating fire in world’s biggest refugee camp

Aljazeera. Bangladesh probes deadly fire at Rohingya camp, 400 missing

Reuters. Aid workers struggle to reunite Rohingya children separated by deadly fire

Go Humanity. Fire devastates enormous Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh

ABC. Rohingya camp fire death toll rises to 15, with 400 still missing in Bangladesh

Literary Hub. On Genocide in Myanmar and the Loss of Rohingya Foodways

The Observers. ‘In every camp there’s a disaster’: Monsoon rains in Bangladesh worsen conditions for the Rohingya

The Business Standard. Aid workers struggle to reunite Rohingya children separated by deadly fire

NRC. NGO's urge global community to support Rohingya refugees

The Fiji Times. Devastating fire at Rohingya camp in Bangladesh kills 15, leaves 400 missing – U.N.

Hindustan Times. 15 dead, 400 missing after fire in Cox's Bazar Rohingya refugee camp

The Daily Star. Ukhiya Rohingya camp fire: Official death toll 11

The New Humanitarian. Rohingya camp fire: Barbed-wire fences blocked escape, witnesses say

Vice. Rohingya Refugees Describe Tearing Through Fences to Escape Massive Fire

Amnesty International. We wish to overcome the decades of marginalization that brought us here

Jowhar. Monsoon Rains In Bangladesh Worsen Conditions For Rohingya People

Oxford Brookes University. The Next Generation - Young Rohingya Refugees exhibition

US Campaign for Burma. Voice of a Rohingya

Nanummunhwa

2020

Aljazeera. Inside the Rohingya Refugee Crisis

The New York Times. Cyclone Amphan Slams India and Bangladesh

The Diplomat. The Rohingyas and the Elephants: How Humans and Nature Collide in Refugee Camps

The Telegraph. 'Many people died in front of me': hundreds of Rohingya stranded on refugee boats in Bay of Bengal

Australian Institute of International Affairs. Three Years Too Long: The Refugee Crisis in Bangladesh

PBS. Amid pandemic, cyclone forces millions in India and Bangladesh to flee

The Asia Foundation. Navigating at the margins: Family, Mobility and Livelihoods amongst Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

Voices Without Borders. Ro Yassin Abdumonab's Story

UNHCR Asia Pacific. Amid coronavirus, a Rohingya refugee reflects on camp life under lockdown

Green Left. Bangladesh: Rohingyas locked down at world's largest refugee camp

2019

The Washington Post. Rohingya refugees, cut off from the world, got to briefly watch Myanmar’s rulers go to trial

The Globe & Mail. Forced to flee again: Labelled ‘illegal migrants’ in India, Rohingya seek refuge in Bangladesh camps

2017

Asia University for Women. Without Internet, We Have No Existence: Rohingya Refugee Representation on Social Media.

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