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SOS from Starving Rohingyas in Bangladesh-Burma border
by Rohingya Human Rights
2008-11-01 09:25:41
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On June 9th, 2008, a vernacular daily of Bangladesh Dainik Purbokone ran a report saying that 18 Rohingya children died of hunger and lack of medical treatment in previous two days (June 7th and 8th) in Ukhiya Koto-Palong area of Cox's Bazar, the southern district of Bangladesh. The report also said that about 10,000 Rohingya families with about 100,000 members gathered at east-south Koto-Palong Rohingya refugee camps and in areas adjacent to Ukhiya TV relay center and they are living under open sky.

They are passing their days without shelter, adequate food and medical treatment. The Rohingyas particularly their children are suffering from various diseases causing death almost every day due to the lack of medical treatment and adequate food. The report also said that the Bangladesh Government is not taking care of their plight.

The report said, some Rohingyas namely Rabi Alam, Abul Hashem, Mohd Yousuf, Nurul Islam, Haji Abdul Jalil, Shukkur, Abul Kalam, Rahim Ullah, Abul Fayaz and Sayed Kasim informed the reporters that the newly gathered Rohingyas are living there dividing themselves into four blocks - 200 families in Block-A, 3300 families in Block-B, 2,902 families in Block-C and 3,380 families in Block-D with a total 9,582 families consisting of about 100,000 members. The figure is increasing day by day due to the desperate situation in Burma.

On September 5th, 2008, the Kaladen Press Network ran a report saying that twenty nine unregistered Rohingya refugees died in the Leda camp in Teknaf Upazilla under Cox’s Bazar district due to the lack of proper treatment in two previous months (July and August 2008). There were 11 women and 18 men among the dead.

The dead were identified as Eman Hussain (40), son of Md. Sadek , Block B, Rom No. 273, Zahid Hussain( 4 months), son of Kasim Ali, Block D, Room No. 132, Zabernissa (50), daughter of Nabi Hussain, Block B, Room No. 234, Kala Meah (60), son of Ezar Meah, Block A, Room No.133, Md Salam (22), son of Md. Jalal, Block B, Room No.255, Fatema Khatoon (one month), daughter of Sultan, Block B, Room No.136, Eman Hussain (2), son of Md Hussain, Block B, Johar Ansar Rana (3 months), son of Abu Taher, Block B, Room No. 132, Johar Ahmed (70), son of Hussain Ali, B block, Bodozzaman (65), son of Abu Bakker, Block B, Room No. 173, Md. Hussain (77), son of Ulla Meah, Block B, Room No.77, Abdul Salam (50), son of Abdul Zabber, Block C, Room No.193, Noor Kamal, son of Hafez Ahmed, Block F, Room No. 176, Rasheda Begum(35), daughter of Amir Hamza, Block E, Room No. 98, Md. Sayed (25), son of Nurul Alam, Block F, Room No 28, Salima Khatoon (23), wife of Hafez Ahmed, Block F, Room No. 176, Anzuma (3), daughter of Zamal Hussain, Block E, Room No. 93, Fatema (2), daughter of Habi Ullah, Block A, Room No.283, Mabiya Khatoon (60), daughter of Jalal Ahmed, Block C, Room No.2, Noor Jahan (one month), daughter of Md Sultan, Block B, Room No.136, Mazeda (3), daughter of Md. Amin, Block C, Room No.22, Abdur Rahman(70), son of Nazir Hussain, Block C, Room No. 206, Nur Begum (90), daughter of Waziduddin, Block E, Room No.35, Zahida Begum(30), daughter of Lukman Hakim, Block C, Room No.123, Md. Ayub(one day), son of Rashid Ahmed, Block F, Room No. 303, Md. Shoffi(70), son of Sayed Alam, Block E, Room No.167, Zakir Hussain (70), son of Md. Hussain, Block E, Room No.35 and Noor Bosher (3), son of Jamal Hussain, Block F, Room No. 264.

The report also said that starvation was the main cause of the deaths of these destitute Rohingyas because they did not get any support from any quarter. Besides, many of these refugees died of pneumonia, malaria, fever, edema and asthma. When the patients were taken to the clinic of the nearby Islamic Relief (IR), they were given some Paracetamol and some anti-biotic capsules. They could not afford treatment elsewhere.

The plight of Rohingyas is one of the most under-reported humanitarian crises of the world. The world knows that Burma is a country which the military rulers have turned into a secret state of terror during the last 46 years of unbroken military rule. But it is seldom known to the world that Arakan, a State under the Union of Burma, which is the ancestral home of Rohingyas, has been turned into a concentration camp for the Rohingyas by the military regime. Rohingyas are the only one ethnic community of Burma who has no right to citizenship of Burma and thus they have been deprived of the accompanying rights which other people of Burma can enjoy as its citizens.

Rohingyas are regarded in Burma as temporary residents. In Burma there are 135 ethnic communities besides the Rohingyas and even though they are all severely persecuted by the military regime, yet they are recognized as the citizens of Burma. But through an amendment to the country’s citizenship law in 1982, the Rohingyas have been singled out by the military regime to be the foreigner in their own land where they have been living since the 7th century, because the Rohingyas are still majority in Western Arakan and they are culturally and linguistically closely related to the people of Greater Chittagong of Bangladesh which has a border of 208 km with Arakan which is the most naturally resource-rich states of Burma.

The Burmese military regime has left nothing undone to eliminate the Rohingyas from Arakan. Since the takeover of General Ne Win in 1962, genocidal operations have been conducted against them again and again where tens of thousands of Rohingyas were forced to seek refuge in neighboring Bangladesh. And in order to make life unbearable for the Rohingyas in Arakan, the military regime does not allow them to move from one village to another without permission which is obligatory to obtain from three authorities and it takes several days to complete the formalities. Severe restrictions have been imposed in the marriages of Rohingyas and in their daily life in order to make it difficult for them to keep their livelihood running.

Rohingyas know that Bangladesh is a small country with an overwhelming population where it would be extremely difficult for them to survive without having a roof to live under and a source of income for their livelihood. They also know how hunger and diseases have been taking away the life of the Rohingyas who took shelter in different parts of Bangladesh-Burma border. But still they are fleeing their home. They are crossing to neighboring Bangladesh risking an uncertain future of life and death.

On August 26, 2008, the CSW (Christian Solidarity Worldwide) released a special report after their fact-finding visit to the Bangladesh-Burma border from 27-31 August 2008, where they have highlighted the dire condition of the Rohingyas living in Bangladesh-Burma border as unregistered refugees.

In its executive summary titled “A people at the brink of extermination”, the CSW said, "Among the most persecuted and oppressed people groups in Burma are the Rohingya, a Muslim people residing primarily in northern Arakan State, western Burma, along the border with Bangladesh."

“Thousands of Rohingyas have fled across the border to Bangladesh, where they find some security but little future. Only 27,258 refugees have been officially recognized by the UNHCR and live in two refugee camps. Thousands more live in dire conditions in temporary unregistered camps and settlements. Access to education and health care is extremely limited, and living conditions are very poor, especially in the rainy season." said the report.

In his recent article titled “Burma's Muslim Rohingya Minority Dwell at the "Brink of Extermination", Benedict Rogers, the Deputy Chairman of the UK Conservative Party's Human Rights Commission and the Advocacy Officer of the CSW for South Asia, said, “A senior UN official, who has served in Darfur and other humanitarian crisis situations and who, in the words of a foreign diplomat, “knows human misery when he sees it", recently described the situation in northern Arakan as "as bad as anything he has seen in terms of the denial of basic human freedoms". Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which works in northern Arakan State and has also operated in the camps for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, has described the Rohingya as one of the ten world populations in danger of extinction.”

Mr. Benedict Rogers also writes, “If Burma as a whole is under-reported, the people on its western borders are almost unknown to the world. Journalists, activists and aid agencies who visit the region tend to head for the Thailand-Burma border, where access to refugees, displaced people and democracy groups is greatest. Few visit Burma’s borders with India, where a famine is unfolding, or with China, where women are trafficked into prostitution, and fewer still make it to the Bangladesh border where a slow, forgotten genocide is taking place.”

Bangladesh is not a party to the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees, 1951, and it's Protocol of 1967. It also does not have any national legislation to deal with asylum or refugee issues. During 1978 and 1991-92, the Rohingya asylum seekers were granted refugee status by the Bangladesh Government under 'executive orders' on a group basis (prima facie refugee status). Now, these undocumented Rohingya refugees do not get any support from any national or international organization because the Bangladesh government does not recognize them as refugees in order to evade any responsibility of the refugees in the country.

But in order to save the life of so many destitute human beings, immediate steps must be taken by the Bangladesh government on emergency basis to declare them as refugees in order to pave the way for the UNHCR and other international bodies to provide humanitarian assistance to these statusless Rohingyas. At the same time the UNHCR and other World Bodies must mount pressure on the Bangladesh government through all available means to grant them refugee status and to help the distressed Rohingyas out of the appalling conditions.


Ahmedur Rahman Farooq, 2975 Vang i Valdres, Norway

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Nia kurniatin2012-01-18 07:42:24
N0orkamal,ni nia.abng,ada mana skrg?bla u mai malaysia,

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