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Myanmar Rohingya nationals in Bangladesh

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Bangladesh allows education for Rohingya refugee children

Independent Online/ AFP

Rohingya children living in Bangladesh refugee camps will be allowed to receive a formal education after a change of heart by Dhaka in a move welcomed by right activists.

Nearly one million Rohingya, including more than half a million children, live in the squalid and crowded camps near the southeastern border with Myanmar, where many had fled from in 2017 after a brutal military crackdown.

The children were previously barred from studying the curriculums used in Bangladesh and Myanmar, and instead received primary education in temporary learning centres set up by the UN children''s agency UNICEF.

"We don''t want a lost generation of Rohingya. We want them to have education. They will follow Myanmar curricula," Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen told AFP on Tuesday.

The decision came after a meeting of a national taskforce set up by the government.

Local media reported that a pilot programme involving more than 10,000 students would be launched soon, with UNICEF and Dhaka jointly designing the curriculum. The refugee children will be schooled in Myanmar history and culture up to age 14, and will also receive skills training so they can take up jobs back in Myanmar when they return home, the foreign ministry said.

"I can''t express my joy with words ... generations of Rohingya hardly had any education in their homeland in Myanmar as they were discriminated there and were robbed of their citizenship," Rohingya youth leader and human rights activist Rafique bin Habib said.

"The decision will minimise the chances for a Rohingya kid to get radicalised (in the camps)," he added.

UN representative in Bangladesh Mia Seppo told AFP the move would "make it easier for them to go back home to Myanmar when the time is right for returns". Some Rohingya children have used fake Bangladeshi identity cards and hidden their ethnic identities to enrol in local schools.

Authorities last year expelled scores of them from schools in a drive condemned by rights groups.

Tens of thousands of other Rohingya Muslim children were also educated in madrassas set up by Islamic groups in the camps.

The decision came almost a week after UN''s highest court ordered Myanmar to do everything in its power to prevent the genocide of Rohingya Muslims. 

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not sure how to feel about this, I just hope they will go back eventually. That said the educated ones are more than welcome to stay and contribute to the economy.

Hopefully they remember our hospitality and help us when the time comes. Myanmar will have to be sized down some day in the future.

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Brilliant news , it is a moral duty for us to shelter them and allow them to have their basic rights as a refugee. At least we are a nation with moral and principles. Trump forcing separation of parents and kids while Sheikh Hasina allowing kids to have education. Must be praised . 

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4 minutes ago, Darth Nihilus said:

The more educated they are, the more they'll understand the differences between a life in Myanmar and a life in Bangladesh. Might backfire as they will be able to convince people to never leave willingly.

This is what I was thinking as well.

The burmese never allowed the rohingya children to get proper education, now maybe rohingya will try to stay here just so their kids can get educated and have a better life.

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Bangladesh's activities seems like Professor Mansky's moves in The Coldest Game. I think the Government of Bangladesh will make a surprising move that would knock out everyone. For this we require more maturity and patience collectively as a nation.


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Tk 2,500cr forest resources, biodiversity ‘destroyed’

Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar
Anisur Rahman Khan, Dhaka
Rohingya refugees have destroyed about Tk 2,500-crore forest resources and biodiversity in the Cox’s Bazar area, according to an estimate by officials of the Bangladesh Forests Department (BFD). The Rohingyas have destroyed around 8,000 acres of natural forests and social forestry by building houses and felling trees for fuel, putting the environment and ecology under great threat, the officials say.

Expansion of the old Kutupalong camp has also blocked the only corridor used by endangered Asian elephants as migration routes and trapped about 45 elephants on the western side of the camp. Several international aid agencies, local government bodies, and NGOs have also been constructing infrastructure and other activities around the forest areas without informing the forest department, sources told The Independent.

During the period between August and October 2017, about 750,000 forcibly displaced Rohingya people moved from Myanmar to the neighbouring border areas of Cox’s Bazar, where they joined the existing Rohingya communities, bringing the total to 11 lakh, one of the largest concentrations of refugees in the world.

“We’ve submitted a primary assessment regarding the destruction of forests, including biodiversity, natural forests, and afforestation, in Cox’s Bazar. We’ve estimated that forest resources worth Tk. 2,500 crore have been destroyed so far by the Rohingyas,” Humayun Kabir, divisional forest officer in Cox’s Bazar (south), told this correspondent.

He said different organisations were active on the forest land around the Rohingya camp without informing the forest department.  “A 10-member committee, led by Prof. Kamal Hossain, who is a teacher of forestry at Chittagong University, had been formed in October last year to assess the losses of biodiversity and forests in Cox’s Bazar. The committee is yet to start its activities due to some official problems,” he said in reply to a query.

He also said the critical biodiversity areas in Cox’s Bazar—Teknaf Wildlife Sanctuary, Himchhari National Park, and Inani National Park—face grave risks due to high level of human intervention following the huge Rohingya influx. Tens of thousands of trees  have been cut down to set up camps, make furniture, and cook food for the Rohingya people, he added. The massive Rohingyas influx has caused great socio-economic and environmental damages, he noted.

“Soil erosion and landslides are already common in the area, affecting water resources, irrigation, and groundwater reserves. But now, local biodiversity, including marine resources, acoustic environment, and air quality, is being degraded at an unprecedented level,” Kabir said.

Experts, however, suggest that the Rohingyas be provided with alternative fuel to reduce the pressure on the forests. Planting fast-growing trees in fallow and other unused land in the locality could resolve the firewood problem, they say.

Nearly two years after the start of the Rohingya influx, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in association with the the Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh (PRI) and the Cox’s Bazar administration, conducted a study titled ‘Impacts of the Rohingya Refugee Influx on Host Communities’ last year.

The study finds the impact on the socio-economic effect on host communities, covering prices, wages and poverty incidence, public service, livelihood, public goods delivery, social safety net, and social cohesion. Even criminal activities have increased around the camp areas as many Rohingya people are involved in committing crimes. The Myanmar government is yet to take any positive initiative to take back their citizens.

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12:00 AM, February 22, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:39 AM, February 22, 2020

Bhashan Char for Rohingyas: Relocation plan may be shelved

Porimol Palma


Photo: AFP/Mukta Dinwiddie MacLaren Architects

The government is considering shelving its plan to shift one lakh Rohingyas to remote Bhashan Char following persistent objections from international aid agencies to the relocation.

"We are seriously thinking of shelving the relocation plan because the international organisations have not agreed to it," Md Enamur Rahman, state minister for disaster management and relief, told The Daily Star on Wednesday.

Without cooperation from those organisations, the government would face difficulties in arranging food, healthcare and other necessary items for one lakh people on Bhashan Char, he said.

UN and aid agencies say the island is isolated, flood-prone and would be hazardous for the Rohingyas because of cyclones and tidal surges.

The government has already built 120 cluster villages on the 40sqkm island under a Tk 2,312 crore housing project for accommodating one lakh of the nearly 1 million Rohingyas sheltered in cramped camps in Cox's Bazar.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, Enamur and officials concerned visited the project site on the island, in Noakhali's Hatiya upazila, around 37 miles off the coast of Bay of Bengal, on February 13.

Meanwhile, Momen on Sunday said if the Rohingyas were shifted to Bhashan Char, they might not agree to leave the place in future.

"We want the Rohingyas to go back to Rakhine. We want to repatriate them. That's our priority," he told reporters at his ministry office.

The housing project, funded with public money, was taken after some 750,000 Rohingyas fled a brutal military campaign in Myanmar's Rakhine and took shelter in Cox's Bazar since August 2017. They joined some 300,000 other Rohingyas, who had fled previous waves of violence in Rakhine.

Disaster management ministry officials said destruction of forest and hills and risk of landslides in Cox's Bazar prompted the authorities to choose the temporary housing site on Bhashan Char.

They said the project implemented by Bangladesh Navy has 120 cluster villages that are capable of accommodating one lakh Rohingyas.

The houses have been built four feet above the ground with concrete blocks. The entire housing site is protected by a 13-km-long flood embankment. There are also 120 cyclone shelters, which are planned to be used as schools, medical centres and community centres.

The officials also said there are large swathes of land that could be used for livestock and fish farming if the Rohingyas were relocated there. The refugees in the Cox's Bazar camps have a very little work to do now.

UN and several international aid agencies have been opposing the relocation plan from the beginning. Human Rights Watch too said the island is not sustainable for human habitation and could be seriously affected by rising sea levels and storm surges.

In October last year, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) Mahbub Alam Talukder said some 6,000 to 7,000 refugees had expressed their willingness to be relocated to Bhashan Char.

UN agencies then decided to send a technical mission to the island. They intended to look at the risks of natural disasters, water supply, access to basic services, including health and education, and the freedom of movement within Bhashan Char and to and from the mainland, a UN official said.

Later, the government set a condition that there should be terms of reference for the UN technical mission. Since then, there has been no visible progress on the matter.

Now, ministers and officials concerned say they are considering not to relocate the Rohingyas to Bhashan Char and that they are thinking of an alternative plan.

Requesting anonymity, an official said different relevant ministries reached an informal agreement on shelving the plan to relocate the Rohingyas to the remote island, but the final decision would be taken by the Prime Minister's Office.

"Bangladesh earned so much praises for sheltering the Rohingyas. It should not have a bad reputation now by executing the relocation plan, going against the will of the Rohingyas and the international aid agencies," the official said.

Asked about the future of the housing project if the government changes the relocation plan, Foreign Minister Momen said they were yet to decide on it. He, however, thinks homeless people from other parts of the country could be accommodated on the island.

The government maintains the island is safe for human habitation.

Bhashan Char is only 25 kilometres from Sandwip, another island in Chattogram, he said, adding, "With the fast siltation rate, Sandwip and Bhashan Char can get connected in the near future. Eventually, we will have a huge landmass. We can do a lot of things."



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Rohingya crisis: UNHCR special envoy Angelina Jolie writes to PM
Hollywood star applauds Bangladesh’s leadership role 

Angelina Jolie, the special envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has recently written a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina highly praising Bangladesh for the generosity and the leadership it has demonstrated in the Rohingya crisis. 

She appreciated Bangladesh for giving shelter to the Rohingya people and ensuring their safety and security.

The Hollywood star mentioned that the UNHCR would continue its efforts to engage with Myanmar to create suitable conditions for the sustainable return of the Rohingya.

She hoped that Bangladesh’s initiatives for the Rohingya would help to get better funding for the 2020 joint response plan for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis which would be launched in March, 2020.

She committed to continuing her advocacy for the humanitarian response for the Rohingya people and expressed gratefulness to the people of Bangladesh for all kinds of support.

Angelina Jolie visited the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar in February, 2019 in her capacity as UNHCR special envoy.


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7 suspected Rohingya robbers killed in Cox’s Bazar ‘gunfight’

Independent Online/UNB

Seven suspected members of a Rohingya robber gang were killed in a ‘gunfight’ with members of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) on a hill in Teknaf upazila of Cox’s Bazar early Monday.

The identities of the deceased could not be known yet.

Tipped off that a gang of robbers of ‘Jokey Group’ was taking preparation to commit robbery in Jadimora-Mochni area of the hill behind Rohingya camp No 27, a team of RAB conducted a drive there around 4:30am, said Mirza Shahed Mahtab, company commander of RAB-15.

Sensing the presence of law enforcers, the robbers opened fire on them prompting them to fire back in self-defence that triggered the gunfight, Mahtab said.

After two and a half hours of the gunfight, the elite force members recovered seven bodies from the spot.

They also recovered two firearms from the spot.

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12:00 AM, March 04, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:27 AM, March 04, 2020

20 shots fired a day after the ‘gunfight’

Our Correspondent, Cox’s Bazar

Criminals fired about 20 blank shots at a hill near the refugee camps in the district's Teknaf upazila yesterday, a day after seven suspected Rohingya robbers were killed in a "gunfight" with Rab there.

Locals suspected that members of a notorious robbery gang, led by Zokir Ahmed, fired the shots near Jadimura-Nayapara Rohingya refugee camps- 26, 27 to make their existence known.

They said a group of armed Rohingya men gathered at the hill around noon. The criminals went to the "shootout" spot and fired shots.

The incident caused panic among the Rohingya refugees, who rushed to their rooms fearing attacks from criminals. Locals suspect that some refugees work as sources of the robbery gang.

Mostafa of refugee camp-27 said, "Suddenly we heard some gunshots. Being panicked, were tried to take shelter in safe places. Following the incident, refugees have restricted their movement."

Lt Mirza Shahed Mahatab, company commander of the Rab's Teknaf camp, said they sent a Rab team to the spot on information that criminals opened fire. However, criminals managed to flee before the arrival of law enforcers.

The Rab official said they continued drives to arrest the criminals.Pradip Kumar Das, OC of Teknaf Police Station, said a police team visited the spot.

Necessary measures were taken to keep law and order under control, he added.



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10:30 AM, March 12, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:34 AM, March 12, 2020

2 Rohingya robbers killed in Cox’s Bazar gunfight: Rab

UNB, Cox’s Bazar

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) today claimed that two Rohingya robbers were killed in a gunfight with the elite force members on Shaplapur Marine Drive road in Teknaf upazila of Cox's Bazar.

The deceased -- Saiful Islam, 38, and Nur Kamal, 34, -- were the members of a robber group, locally known as Jokhi Robbers Gang.

Acting on a tipped off, a team of Rab-15 conducted a drive in the area around 1:00am where a group of robbers were preparing to commit a robbery, said Company Commander of Rab-15, Teknaf Shahed Mahtab.

Sensing danger, the robbers opened fire on the elite force members, forcing them to fire back that triggered a "gunfight", the Rab official said.

At one stage, two 'robbers' were caught in the line of fire while the others managed to flee the scene, he said.

Later, the Rab members recovered the bullet-hit bodies of two people.

Three Rab men were injured in the "gunfight", the Rab official said.

One pistol, 11 cartridges and one gun were recovered from the spot.



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রাখাইনে সৈন্য সমাবেশ, মিয়ানমারের রাষ্ট্রদূতকে তলব

নিজস্ব প্রতিবেদক    বিডিনিউজ টোয়েন্টিফোর ডটকম

Published: 13 Sep 2020 10:45 PM BdST Updated: 13 Sep 2020 10:45 PM BdST

রাখাইনে মিয়ানমারের বর্ডার গার্ড পুলিশের সদস্যের সতর্ক অবস্থানের এই ছবি ২০১৭ সালের। ফাইল ছবি: রয়টার্স

সীমান্তে মিয়ানমার সেনাদের সন্দেহজনক গতিবিধির মধ্যে ঢাকায় দেশটির রাষ্ট্রদূতকে তলব করল বাংলাদেশ।

রোববার বিকালে রাষ্ট্রদূত অং কিউ মোয়েকে ডেকে পাঠানো হয় বলে বিডিনিউজ টোয়েন্টিফোর ডটকমকে জানিয়েছেন পররাষ্ট্র মন্ত্রণালয়ের কর্মকর্তারা।

এ বিষয়ে জানতে চাইলে মন্ত্রণালয়ের মিয়ানমার উইংয়ের মহাপরিচালক দেলোয়ার হোসেন বলেন, “আমরা উনাকে ডেকেছিলাম এবং আমাদের উদ্বেগের কথা জানিয়েছি। বলেছি, তিনি যেন যথাযথ কর্তৃপক্ষের কাছে আমাদের বার্তা পৌঁছে দেন।”

বাংলাদেশ-মিয়ানমার আন্তর্জাতিক সীমান্তে শুক্রবার ভোর থেকে মাছ ধরার ট্রলারে করে মিয়ানমারের সেনাদের সন্দেহজনক গতিবিধির খবর দেয় বিভিন্ন গণমাধ্যম।

সীমান্ত এলাকায় কয়েকটি পয়েন্টে গত কয়েক দিনে মিয়ানমার সৈন্যদের উপস্থিতি দেখার কথা জানিয়েছেন স্থানীয়রা।

পররাষ্ট্র মন্ত্রণালয়ের কর্মকর্তারা ধারণা করছেন, রাখাইনের আরাকান আর্মির সঙ্গে যে সংঘাত চলমান, তার অংশ হিসাবে সৈন্যদের আসা-যাওয়া হতে পারে।

সেখানে এমন সন্দেহজনক গতিবিধি ঘটলে বাংলাদেশের ‍উদ্বেগের কারণ রয়েছে। তিন বছর আগে রাখাইনে সেনা অভিযানের পর দমন-পীড়নের মুখে লাখ লাখ রোহিঙ্গা পালিয়ে আসে বাংলাদেশে।

পররাষ্ট্র মন্ত্রণালয়ের এক কর্মকর্তা বিডিনিউজ টোয়েন্টিফোর ডটকমকে বলেন, “রাখাইনে সংঘাত এলাকায় রোহিঙ্গা জনগোষ্ঠীও রয়েছে। সে কারণে আমাদের জন্য তা বেশ উদ্বেগের। আবার যদি কোনো কারণে রোহিঙ্গা ঢল নামে আমাদের চাপের উপর চাপ বাড়বে।”

২০১৭ সালের ২৫ অগাস্ট রাখাইনে সেনা অভিযান শুরুর পর কয়েক মাসের মধ্যে সাত লাখের বেশি রোহিঙ্গা বাংলাদেশে এসে আশ্রয় নেয়। আগে থেকে বাংলাদেশে ছিল আরও চার লাখ রোহিঙ্গা।

আন্তর্জাতিক চাপের মধ্যে মিয়ানমার সরকার রোহিঙ্গাদের ফিরিয়ে নিতে ২০১৭ সালের শেষ দিকে বাংলাদেশের সঙ্গে চুক্তি করলেও সেই প্রত্যাবাসন আজও শুরু হয়নি।

গত বছর দু’দফায় প্রত্যাবাসনের উদ্যোগ নেওয়া হলেও রাখাইন রাজ্যের পরিবেশ নিয়ে শঙ্কার কথা তুলে ধরে ফিরতে রাজি হননি রোহিঙ্গারা।

রাখাইনে সৈন্য সমাবেশ নিয়ে উদ্বেগ প্রকাশের পাশাপাশি রোহিঙ্গাদের প্রত্যাবাসনের বিষয়ে উদ্যোগ নেওয়ার বিষয়ও রাষ্ট্রদূতকে বলা হয়েছে বলে জানান মন্ত্রণালয়ের কর্মকর্তারা।

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