Rohingya crisis

Host Bangladesh bears all burdens


After a lapse of two years of the Rohingya influx, host country Bangladesh is now beset with horrible burdens economically, politically and environmentally, as the world community is yet to make any headway to get over this crisis. Since the influx, there have been a large number of reports of attacks on police and harassment of journalists by the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals.

Marking their second anniversary of ethnic cleansing from Rakhine, Rohingya surged to international communities to mount up pressure on Myanmar to admit their citizenship and human rights. On Thursday last, the most recent repatriation attempt hopelessly ended up without a single Turning up expressing interest for repartition.

Leading Non-government Organizations (NGO) allegedly told the refugees not to return Myanmar if their demands remain unmet. It has come to light that several NGOs working in the Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazaar are deliberately delaying the repatriation of the community for their own interests. A small vested group of NGOs is openly active to delay the repatriation process, instead of working for a safe and sustainable repatriation of Rohingyas.

Many top level officials do not want the Rohingya repatriation to take place quickly as they receive a large amount of financial aid from international agencies. Kutupalong camp leader Mohamamd Yunus Arman said, "It's unfortunate to face such anarchy in another country." Rohingya leaders also urged the international community to take steps to ensure justice against the genocide carried out against the Rohingya community in Myanmar.

Murder, robbery, rape, assault of police, human trafficking, and abductions are taking place both inside and outside the camps.According to police sources, to control crimes, the police have lodged 471 cases in the last two years, accusing 1,088 individuals.Law enforcers said that crime rates have soared in 34 Rohingya camps. After sunset, camps become havens for criminals.

A few days ago ruling party local leader Omar Faruk, 30, was shot dead at Teknaf by a group of Rohingya men.Rohingyas, who came to Bangladesh to save lives, were given shelter in Bangladesh under the directive of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.From that period, with the help of the government of Bangladesh, local and foreign development agencies are providing the Rohingyas with food, shelter, education and other humanitarian needs.

Migration researcher and NGO worker Aminul Islam has viewed that Myanmar must make a genuine attempt to restore Rohingya's faith in the repatriation process.The Myanmar government held no discussions and made no effort to open dialogue before suddenly coming up with a list of 1,037 families for repatriation, he said.

More than 7,00,000 Rohingyas, mostly women, children and elderly people, entered Bangladesh after fleeing murder, arson and rape during 'security operations' by the Myanmar military in Rakhine.The United Nations denounced the killing as ethnic cleansing and genocide, beginning from August 25, 2017.

Amir Ahmed, a teacher at a school in Camp No 1, said, "Citizenship as Rohingyas, security of our lives and return of our homes and lands must be ensured before we are repatriated".Another Rohingya man, who lives in Camp No 8, said, "We are not happy here. But we are at least alive.”"We know we are a burden on this country. But we didn't have any other choice," he said.

All families interviewed have reaffirmed their willingness to return, once their concerns are reasonably addressed by the Government of Myanmar.Last week, the governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar made a second attempt to repatriate some Rohingya families currently living in Camp No 26 at Shalbagan and Teknaf.

But the attempt fell on its face after the Rohingyas made it clear that they felt betrayed as Myanmar did not hold dialogue with them and they will not go back until their demands are met, of which citizenship is top priority.They also demanded restoration of their homes, lands and assets, trial of those who carried out the atrocities on the Rohingyas and rehabilitations of those living in the camps of internally displaced people (IDP) in Myanmar.

The government of Bangladesh handed the list of 3,450 individuals, so far verified by Myanmar, to UNHCR through the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Dhaka on August 8, to ascertain whether these people are ready to return voluntarily to northern Rakhine under the present circumstances.Of them, UNHCR interviewed 339 families comprising 1,276 individuals, till August 22.

Cox's Bazar Deputy Commissioner Md Kamal Hossain said, “The government is working to provide food, shelter, medicine and other necessities for humanitarian reasons. Some NGOs are telling the Rohingyas that they should not return unless some conditions, such as citizenship, are ensured.”“The NGO officials are allegedly out to create fear among the Rohingya people for their own benefits,” he added.

Giorgi Gigauri, chief of mission of the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) in Bangladesh said, "As long as the return is voluntary, dignified and sustainable, what better outcome can anybody hope for? This is everything we ever wanted."He said the Rohingyas themselves are the most affected of course, but we must remember that the locals also have been deeply affected by this crisis.