Bangladesh today hosts the biggest refugee camp in the world. It became so suddenly and brutally. The flow of refugees was not a trickle but like a monsoon flood. Unlike many countries of the world, we rose to the occasion. It was with the warmest of hearts and deepest empathy for human suffering that we welcomed nearly a million Rohingya refugees. That warmth of heart is on the wane though our empathy remains just as deep. This change came gradually as we saw no end to the problem in sight. The latest instance of the mockery of an exercise at repatriation came as a rude shock. Anybody with the slightest of knowledge of the ground reality appears to have known that it would not work and yet all went through the ritual as if it was a game.
Why is the world silent about the genocide of the Rohingya people? Why the wholesale removal of nearly a million Rohingyas from their homes and throwing them out of their country not a matter of greater international attention? Why the recommendations of Kofi Annan Commission are not reflected more on the UN's agenda?
The role of our close friends has been quite disappointing. Everybody appears to be playing their strategic game while the biggest influx of refugees in recent times, with all its resultant problems, remains fundamentally unattended.
Don't let Bangladesh suffer just because we followed international norms and was an exemplary member of the international community. Why is Myanmar being treated with kid gloves, as if telling the brutal truth to their face is a big breach of international norms. What shocks us most is the muted nature of international and regional condemnation for what Myanmar has done and is still doing.
With this multimedia presentation we have tried to present a full picture of the evolution and the current status of the Rohingya problem. We hope that the international community will renew their effort to solve this great humanitarian crisis with new vigour, political commitment and adequate financial resource.
The world will never find the people of Bangladesh wanting.
Two years into the exodus of Rohingya refugees, who were given shelter in Bangladesh after they fled atrocities in Rakhine State of Myanmar, the extent of how 743,000 refugees affected the host country has become a matter of grave concern.
In 27 camps, close to one million helpless people, including those who arrived after fresh violence since August 2017, may have found some safety for now in Ukhiya and Teknaf of Cox's Bazar, but the consequence of such sudden influx has turned out to be catastrophic.
Attempts have been made twice to repatriate some Rohingya refugees to Myanmar, but the attempts failed as the Rohingyas refused to return without guarantee of citizenship, safety in Rakhine state, freedom of movement, recognition of their ethnicity and return to their original homes, not to camps, to which Myanmar has made no commitments.
The overall impact on the lives of the host communities as well as on the environment, life and law and order is alarming. Forests have been razed, hills destroyed, wildlife threatened while crimes have increased.
Meanwhile, the fate of the persecuted community still hangs by a thread -- between a bleak, uncertain future and hope for a better life in their homeland.
Thousands of Rohingyas yesterday held a rally in Ukhia of Cox’s Bazar -- to tell the world that they want to go back to their homeland Myanmar, marking World Refugee Day.