In February 2021, political turmoil in Myanmar left thousands scrambling to survive amidst abductions, warrantless arrests, and sexual violence. The consequences of the military coup have worsened issues of food security, inflation, and poverty, on top of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Across the country, critics of the coup and their families are being pursued by the junta and subject to abduction, torture, and detention. Numerous reports speak of military attacks against civilians, especially in hardest hit areas like the Kayah state.
One of the main challenges is represented by the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Having been forced to flee their homes, IDPs now need shelter, water, food, fuel, and healthcare. Without these essentials, they remain at risk of starvation, disease, and exposure.
In the following testimonies, internally displaced persons in Myanmar reflect on the meaning of home through the memories of what they have left and the objects that came to represent safety in displacement.
These testimonies originally appeared in the JRS Asia Pacific 40th Anniversary Virtual Exhibition.