Category Archives: Rohingya

Fire at Bangladesh Rohingya camp leaves thousands without shelter

A Rohingya man reacts after a fire burned houses of the Nayapara refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh [Mohammed Arakani/Reuters]
A Rohingya man reacts after a fire burned houses of the Nayapara refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh [Mohammed Arakani/Reuters]

A fire has swept through the Rohingya refugee camps in southern Bangladesh, destroying homes belonging to thousands of people, according to the United Nations.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said more than 550 shelters – home to at least 3,500 people – were either totally or partially destroyed in the blaze on Thursday, as well as 150 shops and a facility belonging to a non-profit organisation.

Photographs and video provided to Reuters news agency by a Rohingya refugee in Nayapara Camp showed families, including children, sifting through charred corrugated iron sheets to see if they could salvage anything from their smouldering homes.

But little remained of the camp, which had stood for decades, aside from concrete poles and the husks of a few trees.

“E-block is completely burned down,” said the refugee, Mohammed Arakani. “There is nothing left. There was nothing saved. Everything is burned down.”

“Everyone is crying,” he added. “They lost all their belongings. They lost everything … all their goods.”

The UNHCR said it was providing shelter, materials, winter clothes, hot meals, and medical care for the refugees displaced by the calamity at the camp in Cox’s Bazar district, a sliver of land bordering Myanmar in southeastern Bangladesh.

“Security experts are liaising with the authorities to investigate on the cause of fire,” the agency said, adding that no casualties were reported.

Mohammed Shamsud Douza, the deputy Bangladesh government official in charge of refugees, said the fire service spent two hours putting out the blaze but was hampered by the explosion of gas cylinders inside homes.

He said there had been no decision on whether shelters would be rebuilt or refugees moved elsewhere.

The Bangladesh government has moved several thousand Rohingya to a remote island in recent weeks, despite protests from human rights groups who say some of the relocations were forced, allegations denied by authorities.

More than a million Rohingya live in the mainland camps in southern Bangladesh, the vast majority having fled Myanmar in 2017 in a military-led crackdown the UN said was executed with genocidal intent – charges Myanmar denies.

The fire destroyed part of a camp inhabited by Rohingya who fled Myanmar after an earlier military campaign, according to refugees.

In a statement, Save the Children NGO said the fire was “another devastating blow for the Rohingya people who have endured unspeakable hardship for years”.

“Today’s devastating fire will have robbed many families of what little shelter and dignity left to them. It stands as another ghastly reminder that children stuck in the camps in Cox’s Bazar face a bleak future with little freedom of movement, inadequate access to education, poverty, serious protection risks and abuse including child marriage,” Save the Children’s country director in Bangladesh Onno van Manen said.

The NGO said the international community must find a “lasting and durable solution to the plight of the Rohingyas”.

“In addition, the international community must fully fund the humanitarian response for the Rohingya crisis, which is woefully under-funded. Without adequate funding, essential lifesaving services for the Rohingya will suffer,” it said.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/1/14/fire-leaves-at-least-3500-rohingya-without-shelter-in-bangladesh

World Court orders Myanmar to protect Rohingya from acts of genocide

Rohingya
Rohingya refugees take part in a prayer as they gather to mark the second anniversary of the exodus at the Kutupalong camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, August 25, 2019. REUTERS/Rafiqur Rahman/File photo

THE HAGUE/COX’S BAZAAR, Bangladesh, – The International Court of Justice on Thursday ordered Myanmar to take urgent measures to protect its Rohingya population from genocide, a ruling cheered by refugees as their first major legal victory since being forced from their homes.

A lawsuit launched by Gambia in November at the United Nations’ highest body for disputes between states accuses Myanmar of genocide against Rohingya in violation of a 1948 convention.

The court’s final decision could take years, and Thursday’s ruling dealt only with Gambia’s request for preliminary measures. But in a unanimous ruling by the 17-judge panel, the court said the Rohingya face an ongoing threat and Myanmar must act to protect them.

Myanmar must “take all measures within its power to prevent all acts” prohibited under the 1948 Genocide Convention, and report back within four months, presiding Judge Abdulqawi Yusuf said, reading out a summary of the judgment.

Myanmar must use its influence over its military and other armed groups to prevent violence against the Rohingya “intended to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”.

Rohingya activists, who had come from all over the world to the Hague, reacted with joy to the unanimous ruling which also explicitly recognised their ethnic minority as a protected group under the Genocide Convention.

“That is something we have been fighting for a long time: to be recognised as humans the same as everyone else,” Yasmin Ullah, a Canada-based Rohingya activist said. Majority Buddhist Myanmar generally refuses to describe the Muslim Rohingya as an ethnic group and refers to them as Bangladeshi migrants.

Myanmar’s ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement late on Thursday it “takes note” of the decision.

“The unsubstantiated condemnation of Myanmar by some human rights actors has presented a distorted picture of the situation in Rakhine and affected Myanmar’s bilateral relations with several countries”, it added.

More than 730,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar after a military-led crackdown in 2017, and were forced into squalid camps across the border in Bangladesh. U.N. investigators concluded that the military campaign had been executed with “genocidal intent”.

In camps in Bangladesh where they have fled, Rohingya refugees hovered over mobile phones to watch the judgment.

“For the first time, we have got some justice,” said Mohammed Nur, 34. “This is a big achievement for the entire Rohingya community.”

 

 

 

http://news.trust.org/item/20200123093823-gfm4x/