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NGOs obstruct Rohingya repatriation

Published : 24 Aug 2019 10:13 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 05:00 PM

The non-government organisations working in Cox’s Bazar Rohingya camps are deliberately delaying the repatriation of the ill-fated community, for their own interests, alleged local people. They alleged that a small and vested group of NGOs are openly active to delay the repatriation process, instead of working for a safe and sustainable repatriation of Rohingyas.

“They are openly instigating Rohingyas to stay in Bangladesh for an indefinite period of time showing various reasons,” they said. Talking to people from different sections of local community and scrutinising NGO activities, a Bangladesh Post investigation also found that those NGOs do not have any headache to pressurise Myanmar’s military and government for creating conducive environment for safe repatriation.

Instead, it has been revealed that staying in the posh tourist hotels of Cox’s Bazaar, top officials of those NGOs are working for extending their stay, only to take away the lion’s share of the huge amount of financial aid coming for Rohingya refugees every month from across the globe. As a result, all initiatives taken by the government to repatriate the Rohingyas are going in vain due to their misdeeds.

The NGO officials, who claim themselves to be human rights activists working for betterment of Rohingyas, are instigating the refugees not to go back to their motherland, only to serve their own vested interests. Meanwhile, the foreign ministry on Thursday said some NGOs are impeding the process of repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar.

The parliamentary standing committee on foreign ministry recommended identification of those NGOs. “The ministry has informed us that some NGOs are misleading the Rohingyas to believe that they should not return to their country,” Chairman of the parliamentary committee Muhammad Faruk Khan said. “These NGOs are telling the Rohingyas that they should not return unless some conditions, including citizenship, are met.”

The committee asked the ministry to initiate efforts to send a delegation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar so that they can see the condition there and get encouraged to return. “The UN has its office in Myanmar as well. They should also work there. Bangladesh isn’t a bargaining agent for Rohingya repatriation,” Faruk Khan said.

Mentionable, besides the UN agencies and the government, local and foreign NGOs are working in the Cox’s Bazaar refugee camps that have sheltered over 1.1 million Rohingyas. A number of local dignitaries alleged that NGO officials are also misleading the Rohingyas in many ways, saying if they (Rohingyas) return they would be tortured and violated again.

The locals said the NGO officials are convincing the Rohingyas that if they stay in Bangladesh, they would be given food, house, treatment, education and other facilities. It is very clear to all that there is lack of trust among the Rohingya people but instigations by certain NGOs are visible for stalling the repatriation process.

Meanwhile, as the Myanmar authorities have not ensured stability, the Bangladesh government plans to form a commission with people from various countries to visit Rakhine State in Myanmar and inspect whether peace is prevailing there. The foreign countries like India, China, USA, Europe, Australia, Canada and United Nations also assured Bangladesh of providing all kinds of support in order to force the Myanmar government to take their nationals back. Meanwhile, with uncertainty looming over the Rohingya repatriation, crimes from petty theft to drug peddling, abduction to murder have become common at the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazaar.

Reportedly, over 48 people have been killed so far by fellow Rohingyas in the camps, while many others were abducted for ransom since their arrival in August 2017. It is alleged that many Rohingyas are preparing passports and trying to go abroad. Reportedly, after going abroad, they are getting engaged in various criminal activities there, tarnishing the image of Bangladesh.

A large number of Rohingyas are getting involved in Yaba trading and gang warfare. Rohingyas along with Bangladeshi drug peddlers travel to the border area every day by boat to fetch yaba.