Background and objective of the project:

As a researcher of development media in recent time I got the opportunity to observe and undertake research on different ethnic vulnerable groups in Asia. International media coverage has focused the plight of stateless Rohingya boat People since 2009. However, they have been trafficked through the coastal routes for decades. These people are prepared to risk embarking on a dangerous sea journey in order to escape severe oppression, dire poverty and severe human rights violations. Each year the exodus claims more lives as boats sink in the Bay of Bengal or Andaman Sea and those who survive are subject to arrest and further human rights violations whilst waiting for repatriation. I first met 200 stranded boat people in Mae Sot, Thailand in April 2007, few of them were Bangladeshi. Then I started documenting with different media tool with the support of South East Asia Regional Cooperation in Human Development (SEARCH)-CIDA. And this brings me opportunity to continue research on stateless Rohingya-Bangladeshi and new boat people of Asia.

SEARCH was closely involved to develop a mechanism for these boat people and worked with different local and international actors. With the direct involvement of SEARCH the first mechanism for the Bangladeshi boat people, came out and supported two Bangladeshi to get back. In addition, I used new media for reporting on web portal which draw attention of concerned authority. Finally I made this documentary film with the support of SEARCH.

Although I completed the film but the situation is still the same and I think we need to develop a camping with this film around the coastal belt of Bangladesh including inside the stakeholders of ASEAN. We already developed a project to bring this documentary to 10 million people of Bangladesh and raise awareness however due to lack of resources we could not start the program yet. We need support of national stakeholder’s international community to carry out our mission.

Ahmed Abid/ MMC Team