“Let’s go home; let’s go to Myanmar”: Rohingya rally tells world
Thousands of Rohingyas today (June 19, 2022) held a peaceful rally in Ukhia of Cox's Bazar – to tell the world that they want to go back to their homeland Myanmar, a day before World Refugee Day.
While talking to our Cox's Bazar correspondent, Rabeya, a widow who lives in a Rohingya camp in Ukhia, said, "We are fine here (in Bangladesh). We have endless gratitude towards Bangladesh and its people. But, we want to go back to our homeland. We want to return to our birthplace as soon as possible."
Rabeya, a resident of Camp-W, was talking to The Daily Star this morning when thousands of Rohingyas were joining the peaceful rally in front of the Balukhali 18 camp in-charge's office – holding the national flag of Myanmar and banners and festoons with different demands.
The Rohingya community has organised the rally on the first day of "Let's Go Home" (Bari Cholo) campaign launched at 23 camps – 21 in Ukhia and two in Teknaf upazila, an official of a government intelligence agency told The Daily Star.
They also handed out leaflets with their seven-point demand that include repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar at the earliest, cancellation of 1982 citizenship act of Myanmar, ensuring dignity and security of Rohingyas in Myanmar, and ending of persecution of innocent people of Myanmar.
Additional law enforcers have been deployed and members of different intelligence agencies were also put on alert ahead of their programme.
Around 10:30 am, Rohingya community leaders Shahabuddin, Nurul Amin, Master Mohammad Ayaz and Maulvi Yusuf addressed the peaceful rally.
One of the organisers, Zahid Hossain said, "Monday, June 20, is World Refugee Day. Ahead of the day, we all from almost every Rohingya camp in Ukhia and Teknaf, want to inform the world – through peaceful rallies – that the Rohingyas are citizens of Myanmar. The State of Arakan (now Rakhine State) is our birthplace. We want to return to our homeland."
Regarding today's campaign programme, Additional Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Shamsud Douza said, "Rohingyas want to return to their homeland, they want to remind the world of their rights. In order to convey this, the Rohingyas organised this rally. We did not obstruct them from holding the rally."
Khandaker Ashfaquzzaman, additional superintendent of Armed Police Battalion-8, which is responsible for maintaining the law and order situation at the Rohingya camps, said Rohingyas had already taken permission to hold the rallies. They carried out their programme peacefully on a limited scale today.
According to the latest data from the RRRC office, there are currently around 890,000 Rohingya living in 34 camps.
However, the total number of Rohingyas living in Bangladesh is 11 lakh.