• Abir Soleiman, Lucia Gomez | IOM UK

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) hosted a four day-long exhibition - "Arar Rosom, Arar Elom” the Rohingya’s “Our Culture, Our Wisdom”, at the Houses of Parliament in the UK, showcasing the richness of the Rohingya culture and traditions.

For decades the Rohingya have periodically made their way to Bangladesh to escape persecution. In August 2017 thousands of Rohingya were compelled to leave their homes in Myanmar's Rakhine State due to armed attacks, and widespread violence and human rights abuses. They settled in Cox’s Bazar, which since 2017 has become home to almost one million Rohingya refugees, making it the largest refugee settlement in the world. Due to their protracted displacement, the art, culture and traditions of Rohingyas are at risk of being forgotten.  

IOM has been on the ground in Cox’s Bazar since 2013, providing vital humanitarian assistance to Rohingya refugees including mental health support, using innovative approaches that combine fostering psychosocial well-being, safeguarding, and preserving cultural identity. 

The exhibition took place between 11 and 14 December 2023 in the Upper Waiting Hall, featuring unique stories and items handcrafted by Rohingya refugees at the Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre, where the International Organization for Migration (IOM) seeks to promote healing, ensure the continuity of their cultural heritage for future generations, and create a powerful tool for self-advocacy. 

 A launch event kindly hosted by Rushanara Ali MP and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Rohingya, with contributions from Christa Rottensteiner (IOM UK Chief of Mission), Abdusattor Esoev (IOM Bangladesh Chief of Mission) and the Director General for Humanitarian and Development at the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), Melinda Bohannon.

"We are grateful that through this exhibition our arts, culture and heritage will not be forgotten." RCMC volunteer