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Unregistered Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh: Crackdown, forced displacement and hunger

By Arakan Project  •  February 11, 2010

An unprecedented crackdown by Bangladesh law enforcement agencies against unregistered Rohingya refugees who had settled outside the two official refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar District started on 2 January 2010. More than 500 Rohingyas were subsequently arrested in January and the crackdown continues. Some of those arrested were pushed back across the Burmese border and others were charged under immigration legislation and sent to jail. In parallel to the roundups, there is a resurgence of anti-Rohingya movements among the local population and of anti-Rohingya propaganda in the local media fuelling xenophobia and pressing the government to take action against the Rohingya. A similar campaign started earlier in 2009 in Bandarban District and is still ongoing.

Over the last few weeks, fearing arrest, harassment or facing expulsion, more than 5,000 self-settled Rohingya have already fled their homes and most flocked to the Kutupalong makeshift camp in Ukhia in search of safety. The makeshift camp population is now estimated to have swelled to over 30,000. Forced displacement appears to be a device to push the vulnerable unregistered Rohingya into this camp.

The makeshift camp residents, including uprooted families, do not receive food assistance and are now denied access to livelihood as they would face arrest if they left the camp to find work. Food insecurity and hunger is spreading rapidly and a serious humanitarian crisis is looming.

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This post is in: Ethnic Nationalities

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