Kyaw Thu* waited until night fell before taking his family to the bank of a river not far from their village. While millions across the world were told to remain at home to stay safe from the coronavirus pandemic, he and his neighbours were forced to flee.
That night in March, he recalls, residents from Tin Ma village, in Rakhine state, clambered anxiously into boats, crossed the river, then trekked through foothills to seek refuge in the relative safety of a nearby town. No one switched on a torch or even lit a cigarette for fear of drawing the attention of Myanmar’s army.
It is less than three years since the Myanmar military’s violent crackdown on Rohingya Muslim communities in Rakhine state, a campaign of violence that has since led to a genocide case in the UN’s highest court.
Rebecca Ratcliffe, Emanuel Stoakes and Cape Diamond in Yangon