6th anniversary of Rohingya Muslims's mass exodus from Myanmar to Bangladesh 6th anniversary of Rohingya Muslims's mass exodus from Myanmar to Bangladesh  (ANSA)

Rohingya refugees appeal for humanitarian aid and respect for their dignity

Rohingya people residing in the world's biggest refugee camp, Kutupalong, in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, gather on 25 August 2023 to mark the six-year anniversary of their mass exodus.

By Agnel Maria

25 August marks the 6th anniversary of Myanmar’s brutal military operations that forcibly displaced the Rohingya population and other ethnic minorities in northern Rakhine state. The migration of nearly 800,000 individuals across the Bangladeshi border in a desperate attempt to escape the army's campaign of “ethnic cleansing” also began on the very same day.

Many Rohingyas gathered at Cox’s Bazar carrying posters and signboards saying “Our Home, Our Dignity.” They were singing the national anthem of their mother country expressing their desire to go back home. 

Ailments of the People

Up to 790,000 Rohingya refugees have transformed the temporary camps of Cox’s Bazar into long-term unsanitary shelters. Bangladeshi officials are concerned for the security of the refugees as gang violence, human trafficking and drug sales are on the rise. Security officials have dispatched thousands more police to the refugee camp.

As the need for humanitarian aid increases in places affected by war such as Ukraine, the international community and aid organizations have spread resources previously used for emergencies such as that of the Rohingyas. Many benefits such as monthly food vouchers have been reduced.

Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) has been warning about the high risk of a major disease outbreak in the camps of Bangladesh. The circumstances in the camps have worsened to the point where many Rohingya suffer from a parasite infection. This could be the beginning of much worse health conditions.

The decrease in financial aid from international donors and overburdened healthcare services have increased the threat of inadequate clean water and poor sanitation in the extremely congested camps.

The human rights of the Rohingya should be respected, and their security should be ensured till they can safely return home, said Volker Türk, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a statement issued on Thursday.

He continued by urging other states to fully support the international accountability initiatives that have been going on to prepare the ground for the Rohingyas to be able to go home.

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25 August 2023, 18:25