Guwahati (The Stellar News): For thousands of Rohingya families, who were forced to Leave Myanmar by its aggressive security forces, the rights prescribed under the universal declaration on human rights adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948 still remain elusive. The successive governments of Myanmar have deliberately and systematically denying their identity, stripping them of their nationality, and enacting laws and policies that have led to their segregation,
discrimination and persecution.
“The genocidal clearance operation, led by the Myanmar military in 2017, forced over 750,000 Rohingya to flee Myanmar into Bangladesh. This is perhaps the most ruthless in a long history of clearance operations waged against the Rohingya, including Operation Dragon King in 1978 and Operation Pyi Thaya in 1991,” said Progressive Voice, a participatory rights-based policy research and advocacy organization. While widespread international condemnation and efforts by the UN, the Bangladesh government in Dhaka and the international community at large to facilitate Rohingya with shelter, food, healthcare and asylum should not be forgotten, waning financial support and international cooperation threatens the lives of Rohingya inside and outside
Myanmar, added its weekly newsletters.
Last week, Dhaka started to implement a policy to resettle 1,500 Rohingya from Cox’s Bazar refugee camp to disaster-prone Bhashan Char, a remote island in the Bay of Bengal. Many have been lured under false pretenses or coerced to volunteer for relocation, with promises of money, livelihood opportunities, fishing, farming, education, healthcare and priority status for repatriation to Myanmar. Others have received threats, beatings or forced against their will into relocating, denying their right to free, prior and informed consent. “Some refugees complained that they were coerced into registering for relocation.
Others were surprised to see their names on the list of those willing to go to the island as it had not been discussed with
them before,” said Nay San Lwin, co-founder of Free Rohingya Coalition in an interview with DW. Three hundred Rohingya already inhabit Bhashan Char, and have reported poor living conditions, maltreatment, strict confinement, beatings at the hands of Bangladeshi authorities and restrictions to freedom of movement. Additionally, access to adequate education has not been forthcoming and emergency healthcare assistance requires patients to take a three-hour boat journey to the mainland.
Refugees International has characterized the conditions on Bhashan Char as nothing short of a dangerous mass detention of the Rohingya people. Lately, Rohingya are fleeing to avoid having to go to the Bhashan Char, understandably anxious about the future that awaits them and the impact of Covid-19 pandemic during transit and on the island. Inside Cox’s Bazar refugee camp, despair and desperation have caused many refugees to risk their lives and seek refuge by sea to Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.