On 26th and 27th July, the co-chair of the APPGs on the Rights of the Rohingya and Burma Rushanara Ali MP visited refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, where almost one million people are now living in an area less than 5 square miles.
Beginning on 25th August 2017, the Burmese military carried out a series of attacks against the Rohingya population in Rakhine state, which led to hundreds of thousands of people fleeing for their lives and crossing the border into Bangladesh.
Rushanara visited a women’s centre and mobile medical team run by the International Rescue Committee. These provide essential services for refugees, including a delivery ward and counselling to women and girls who have experienced violence.
She also visited a community centre run by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and BRAC where caseworkers help with the relocation of refugees that are the most vulnerable to flooding and landslides, as well as attending a meeting with Rohingya and Bangladeshi representatives organised by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
Speaking on the visit, Rushanara Ali MP said:
“The monsoon season has brought constant rain to the one million refugees in Cox’s Bazar. Conditions are increasingly dangerous, landslides have already destroyed shelters and people have been injured. Local and international agencies such as International Rescue Committee are doing incredible work under very difficult circumstances.
August marks the one-year anniversary of the brutal violence carried out by the Burmese military against the Rohingya, but it also marks the peak of the monsoon in Cox’s Bazar. Rains will continue to worsen and the cyclone season will soon follow.
The Rohingya people have faced unimaginable horror. I heard horrific stories of systematic discrimination over many years. And in the August 2017 attacks - stories of sons being separated from their fathers and killed by soldiers. Mothers spoke of daughters being taken away, raped and killed, and of being separated from their families when fleeing from their attackers, as their homes were being burnt to the ground.
The world must not forget their plight, as this crisis continues. Only one third of the UN appeal for funding has been fulfilled, and the international community must redouble their efforts to meet the immediate needs and find political solutions which allow the Rohingya to rebuild their lives in safety and security.
The ties between the UK and Bangladesh remain strong, and the UK Government is uniquely positioned to lead support for the Rohingya. The generosity of the people of Bangladesh, especially the communities in Cox’s Bazar, is remarkable and the long-term needs of local people who also live in poverty, under very challenging circumstances, should be at the heart of future plans as well.”
Notes to Editors:
1) For further information or comment please contact Rushanara Ali MP’s Office on 020 7219 7200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org