Joint operation to prevent crime, violence in Rohingya camps soon: Home Minister
Bangladesh's Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan has said a joint operation will be conducted very soon to seize arms and drugs and to prevent terrorist activities in the Rohingya camps. If necessary, the army will also be involved in this operation, he said. The minister made the remarks while talking to reporters after attending a meeting of the National committee for coordinating, managing and maintaining law and order of Rohingyas at the Secretariat on Tuesday (May 23, 2023). Also Read: Dhaka seeks global support in pilot Rohingya repatriation project Highlighting the decision of the national committee on coordination, management and law and order of forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals displaced, the minister said: "There is an increasing trend of violence in the Rohingya refugee camps. Terrorist activities are on the rise. In light of this, it was decided in the meeting to increase law enforcement patrols, checkpoints, and intelligence surveillance to stop Rohingya miscreants from committing acts of violence within the camp.” Asaduzzaman Khan said the authorities will conduct a joint operation – based on intelligence – to prevent members of Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and Arakan Army (AA) from entering the camps. Also Read: Countries investing heavily in Myanmar should come forward to solve Rohingya crisis: Momen "We have set up barbed wire fences and watchtowers to prevent Rohingyas from leaving the camp, and we conduct regular patrols," he said. “The security measures will be strengthened further so that they cannot escape. Members of law enforcement agencies are on high alert.” Asked whether the army will be involved in the joint operation, the minister said, "If necessary, we will call the army." “We will not allow drug trade. We will make sure that there is no more bloodshed.” Meanwhile, the home minister said the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) will be instructed to stay on high alert on the border to prevent anymore Myanmar nationals from entering the country. Also Read: Rohingya man shot dead at Ukhiya camp Among other things, discussions were held to speed the diplomatic efforts to send Rohingyas back to Myanmar. Various issues including rohingya health, birth control were also addressed at the meeting. The home minister said, "The decision to repatriate the Rohingyas is still active. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working on it. We hope (repatriation process) it will continue. ’ When asked about the Rohingyas who are hesitant to go back to Myanmar, he said, "It’ll pass. How long will we keep them? We want them to go back to their country.” The Home Minister said the registration process of Bangladeshi fishermen fishing in the Naf River is ongoing. Read more: Norway announces $6.5 million support for Rohingya refugees
SDG advocate Queen Mathilde visits Cox's Bazar Rohingya camps
UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) advocate Queen Mathilde visited Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar district today. Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud, among others, accompanied the Belgian queen during her visit there. She visited a learning center, participated in a session with women working on preventing gender-based violence, interacted with women learning new skills and joined a short briefing on the work on mental health and spoke with mental health volunteers. She is scheduled to return to Dhaka this evening and join a dinner hosted by Parliament Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury. The UN Country Team in Bangladesh on Monday warmly welcomed Queen Mathilde. In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic which stalled and reversed development progress globally, and the subsequent Russia-Ukraine war that induced a cost-of-living crisis, this visit "highlights the heightened importance of the SDGs, and also showcases Bangladesh’s dynamism and commitment", said the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Dhaka. On her first day to the country, the Belgian queen visited Fakir Apparels Ltd, a garment factory in Narayangan that produces clothes for major international brands. Also read: Rohingya man shot dead inside Ukhiya camp
From the Editor-in-Chief: Situation in Rohingya camps needs to be addressed
The security situation in the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar keeps going from bad to worse. Last week, three more prominent members of the displaced refugees were killed within three days inside the camps by unknown assailants. The method and targeting behind the killings suggest the involvement of a militant group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, or ARSA. Two of them acted as the head majhi and subhead majhi of one camp, while the other was known to be vocal against the ARSA. Just the previous week, yet another prominent leader of one of the camps was shot, but survived. Read: No good news yet from Chinese side on Rohingya repatriation: Momen Including the latest killing, 14 people have been killed inside the camps during the last four months, of whom eight were serving in voluntary community leadership roles such as ‘majhi’ and ‘head majhi’. After a lull that followed a security clampdown prompted by the killings of prominent Rohingya leader Mohibullah in September 2021, it would seem the destabilising forces have become newly emboldened to carry out their activities. This obviously doesn’t bode well for Bangladesh as it looks to start the process of repatriating the hapless refugees back to Myanmar, for which Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen met with Chinese Ambassador Li Jiming this week. Four years ago, Bangladesh and Myanmar signed an agreement for starting repatriation of the Rohingya refugees to Myanmar under a tripartite mechanism brokered by China, but the process remains stalled. Unfortunately, it couldn’t quite be described as a fruitful meeting, as the foreign minister was only able to come away with reiteration of some previous commitments. The current Myanmar government honours all the previous agreements signed between Dhaka and Naypyidaw and expressed willingness to take back the Rohingyas ‘after verification’, Momen told reporters following the meeting. Given that is the case, the deteriorating security situation in the camps is likely to be seized upon by the Myanmar government as a reason to keep stalling. The foreign minister also noted that no prospective date was discussed as the starting point for repatriation, which in any case is expected to be a long, drawn-out process once it starts. Read: Another Rohingya stabbed to death inside Cox’s Bazar camp With no sign of repatriation combined with a lack of economic opportunities and the difficulty in maintaining law and order in overcrowded camps, frustrated Rohingya are increasingly becoming involved in criminal activities or being targeted by criminal groups. They are also taking part in trans-border crime, including human trafficking, extremism, and arms smuggling and the camps can be a potential base for extremist activities and the insecurity in the camps and border could create insecurity for South Asia. Though Bangladesh has taken several measures to ensure the security of these displaced people, it is tough to maintain law and order in the densely populated camps near the border. Therefore, the safe, sustainable, and dignified return of these displaced people is the only solution. Rohingya refugees have also expressed their desire to go home. Not just Bangladesh and Myanmar, but rather the international community, should act together to facilitate Rohingya repatriation to ensure the security of the displaced population as well as the region before it’s too late.
Thai envoy visits Rohingya camps
Thai Ambassador to Bangladesh Makawadee Sumitmor has visited the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar and attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the reconstruction of the Teacher Resource Center damaged by conflagration in 2021. Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Country Representative and delegates also joined and witnessed the ceremony. Thai Government contributed Tk 4.3 million taka (approximately 50,000 USD) to the said project to elevate educational quality as well as to promote equality, dignity and self-reliance for all Rohingya children and youth in the camp. Read: Specialised hospital in Ukhiya for host community, Rohingyas to start operation soon
Birth control measures planned in Rohingya camps: Home Minister
The government will take birth control measures in the Rohingya camps to curb alarming population growth among the refugees. This was decided on Sunday at a meeting presided over by Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal. The meeting also decided that UNHCR database will be used to prevent Rohingyas from getting Bangladeshi passports. Also read: Japan: Lasting Rohingya solutions to help a free Indo-Pacific The decisions came at the fourth meeting of the National Committee on Coordination, Management and Law and order of Displaced Myanmar Citizens, held in the conference room of the Ministry of Home Affairs. State Minister for Disaster and Relief Md. Enamur Rahman was also present at the meeting. Emerging from the meeting the home minister said birth rate is alarmingly high in Rohingya camps with about 35,000 births reported every year. The Health Department and the Islamic Foundation will be asked to take necessary steps to control it.
Rohingya Crisis: European Commissioner due Tuesday
European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic arrives here on Tuesday on a three-day visit to see the situation at Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar and discuss ways of further cooperation on humanitarian issues. His visit will focus on DG ECHO (European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations)-supported activities. Read: Rohingya camp attack: 275 people sued It includes visits to the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar and disaster preparedness initiatives in Dhaka and surrounding areas. He will meet senior government figures, including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said the Embassy of the European Union in Bangladesh. ECHO has delivered almost 30 million euro in support to Bangladesh so far this year. Read:Gun attack on madrasa in Cox’s Bazar Rohingya camp; 6 dead Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char.
Bangladesh urged to improve security in Rohingya camps
UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, has urged Bangladesh to take immediate measures to improve the security in the Rohingya camps, saying that it is "extremely concerned" by another violent attack there. "UNHCR is extremely concerned by another violent attack in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh," said the UN agency in a statement issued Friday night. Read: Gun attack on madrasa in Cox’s Bazar Rohingya camp; 7 dead This incident, which took place in the early morning, resulted in the death of at least seven refugees and an unspecified number of injured, including children, it said. Those with injuries are now receiving medical care. Read: Killings in Rohingya camp to disrupt repatriation: Foreign Minister The UNHCR also sought arrest and prosecution of those responsible for instigating and committing these violent attacks in accordance with the law. "Rohingya refugees fled to Bangladesh seeking safety and security from violence. A large majority – some 80 per cent – are women and children," the UN agency said.
Killings in Rohingya camp to disrupt repatriation: Foreign Minister
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said that one after one incident is being planned in the Rohingya camps to hold back repatriation. He said, “Those Rohingyas who do not want to return Myanmar for their own interest, they might be committing one massacre after another in Rohingya camps. We will look into the matter.” He made the remarks in response to a question from reporters after a programme in Sylhet on Friday morning. Read: Gun attack on madrasa in Cox’s Bazar Rohingya camp; 7 dead However, the minister said he did not know the details yet. "We are investigating the whole matter," he said. Momen said a meeting was held on Thursday to discuss ways to improve law and order inside and outside the Rohingya camps. “Even then, such a big massacre happened today. Seven people were killed by brushfire; it is a matter of great panic.”
Bangladesh concerned over growing crimes, unrest in Rohingya camps
Bangladesh has expressed concern over the increased crimes, human and drug trafficking and unrest in the Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar as their stay in Bangladesh is prolonging. Bangladesh urged Myanmar as well as the international community to take effective steps to sustainably repatriate the Rohingyas to Myanmar at the earliest, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday. Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar and Bhasan Char. Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen condemned the murder of Mohib Ullah, who was a widely recognized leader of the Rohingyas staying in Bangladesh. Mohib Uullah was an avowed supporter of the repatriation of the Rohingyas to Myanmar, according to a message shared by the MoFA on its verified Facebook page. The government of Bangladesh is committed to investigating the heinous crime and bringing the killers to justice, the message reads. Also read: Rohingya leader Mohibullah assassinated Earlier in the morning, the Foreign Minister vowed to bring the killers of Mohib Ullah to justice soon, in his first remarks since the Rohingya leader's murder sparked global condemnation. Dr Momen said a vested quarter killed Mohib as he wanted to return to Myanmar, his homeland. "The government will take stern action against those who were involved in the killing. Nobody will be spared," he said. On Thursday night, police registered a murder case in connection with the killing of Mohib Ullah at Ukhiya camp in Cox's Bazar on Wednesday night. The FIR for murder was filed against unknown persons at the Ukhiya police station on a complaint from Mohib Ullah’s brother Habib Ullah, officer-in-charge Sanjur Morshed had said. Unknown assailants gunned down the 44-year-old on Wednesday night. He was first rushed to a local medical facility and later shifted to Cox's Bazar Sadar Hospital, where doctors declared him dead on arrival. Read: Mohib's murder: FIR lodged, probe in full swing, say police He was buried in Lambashia camp-1 in Ukhiya upazila on Thursday afternoon after his namaz-e-janaza, which was attended by a large number of Rohingya refugees from camps in Ukhiya and Teknaf upazilas. Formerly a teacher in Myanmar, the slain human rights activist was popularly known as Master Mohib Ullah among the Rohingya refugees. He was the head of Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights (ARSPH) at Kutupalong camp.
Covid-19: Vaccination campaign begins at Rohingya camps
Vaccination against Covid-19 began at Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar district on Tuesday. As part of its involvement in the vaccination programme of the government, Humanitarian Crisis Management Programme (HCMP) of BRAC organized the campaign titled ‘Covid-19 Vaccination Campaign for Rohingya Community’. Trained nurses of BRAC gave vaccines to the Rohingyas at camps 1-East, 8-East and No. 13 in Ukhiya upazila of Cox’s Bazar. Also read: Mega Covid inoculation drive begins in Bangladesh The inoculation drive will take place from 9:30am to 2:30pm till August 18.