Bangladesh Opens Huge Camp for Rohingya Refugees
To accommodate the unprecedented scale of the influx of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar, Bangladesh will build a 3000-acre refugee camp.
The camp, at Kutupalong, is expected to house around 800,000 Rohingya refugees and new arrivals, including up to 300,000 already living in Bangladesh before the recent outbreak of violence in neighbouring Myanmar.
Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, the Minister for Disaster and Relief, said, “All of those who are living in scattered places … would be brought into one place.”
More than half a million Rohingya fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh since the latest outbreak of violence in their home province of Rakhine State in late August. Some of them were at once scattered in different refugee camps across southern Bangladesh. However, the new camp, located near the Myanmar border, will put them in one place and address the Rohingya’s humanitarian needs.
Rohingya Muslims are considered to be among the world’s most persecuted people.
Human Tragedy Unfolding
With the huge number of refugees put in one place, growing fears of a disease epidemic is imminent. Aside that space is dwindling to accommodate new arrivals, aid is crucial to the survival of the exodus of Muslim minority in the new zone.
The the United Nations knew the necessity of global aid to address the crisis in Bangladesh. UNICEF chief Anthony Lake and UN emergency relief coordinator Mark Lowcock said in an appeal for $430 million to provide aid that “the needs [of the Rohingya] are growing at a faster pace than our ability to meet them.”
“The human tragedy unfolding in southern Bangladesh is staggering in its scale, complexity and rapidity,” he said in a statement calling the Rohingya crisis “the world’s fastest developing refugee emergency.”
Violence in September
The violence in Myanmar in September caused displacement of thousands of Rohingya, forcing them to evacuate to Bangladesh.
Myanmar’s government blamed Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), an insurgent group in the Rohingya-majority areas in the South Asian nation, for coordinated violent attacks against its security posts, triggering retaliation from the government.
The violence escalated as more than 2,600 houses were burned down, causing Rohinga to leave their homes and seek refuge in the neigboring country.
The United Nations condemned the ongoing violence against the Rohingya inside Myanmar, described by Human Rights Chief Zeid Raad al-Huseein as “textbook ethnic cleansing.”
However, Myanmar has repeatedly denied claims it is working deliberately to wipe out the Rohingya, saying they are carrying out counter attacks against “brutal acts of terrorism.”
Who Are the The Rohingya?
The Rohingya are the Muslim minority in Myanmar. They are regarded as illegal immigrants. The previous US administration called them one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.
Some Rohingya have been denied citizenship, making them stateless. For many decades, they have been persecuted and discriminated against.
Myanmar is a dominantly Buddhist nation of 60 million people and Northern Rakhine is home to 80 percent of the country’s 1 million outcast Muslim Rohingya population.