Aid to Rohingyas: Govt puts one-week embargo on NGOs | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 13, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:03 AM, December 13, 2017

Aid to Rohingyas: Govt puts one-week embargo on NGOs

Only those working under UNHCR can operate

The Cox's Bazar district administration has imposed a weeklong ban on NGOs involved in distributing aid to Rohingyas at Ukhia and Teknaf from Monday to restore discipline in local business apparently affected by illegal relief trade.

A circular issued on Monday to that end states that the amount of food and non-food items being distributed by the NGOs among the refugees is more than they require. As a result, they have a surplus of food items, which might be wasted, it reads.

To stop the waste, all NGOs have been asked to halt their relief activities for one week from December 11 to December 17, states the circular.

However, the NGOs working under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will remain out of this ban, said the additional deputy commissioner (education and ICT) who signed the circular.

He told The Daily Star that the authorities have yet to introduce a rationing card system, in absence of which many refugees get more aid than they need.

Many of these refugees sell the items at lower prices, affecting the local business, he observed.

“We have decided to stop the aid activities for one week for the NGOs to bring back discipline in the local market. But those working under UNHCR will continue their activities,” he added.

Head of External Affairs and Communications of BRAC Iffat Ara Nawaz told The Daily Star they have halted their relief activities complying with the circular.

After a military crackdown by the Myanmar Army on August 25, over 6,20,000 Rohingyas escaped to Bangladesh. The crackdown followed attacks on police and army outposts on the same day by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).

On September of this year, the United Nations denounced Myanmar's “brutal security operation” against Rohingyas in Rakhine State as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

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