Some 1,160 Rohingya refugees arrested – Attacks by security forces and citizens’ committees

Source: Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV)

Date: 10 Mar 2010

Some 1,160 Rohingya refugees from Burma have been arrested since January 2010 in Bangladesh and most of them deported to their homelands, states the Society for Threatened Peoples STP (Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker GfbV). There they are threatened with further persecution. “At least 366 of those arrested were picked up immediately after they crossed the border and handed over to Burmese security forces”, reported Ulrich Delius, Asia consultant of the human rights organisation centred in Göttingen on Tuesday. “Many of those arrested have been mishandled.

A representative of the Rohingya was seized in the refugee camp of Kutupalong and beaten because he had reported during a visit of EU parliamentarians on 15th February 2010 about the difficult situation of the refugees. “But in the refugee camps this Moslem minority finds no protection in Bangladesh”, criticised Delius.

“There they are exposed to attacks from the security forces or have to suffer hunger. For Bangladesh refuses to allow international relief agencies to contact the refugees.” The US American human rights organisation “Physicians for Human Rights” warned in a report published today of a dramatic deterioration in the humanitarian situation of the approximately 200,000 Rohingya minority in Bangladesh. Many members of the Moslem minority are threatened with starvation if they have no access to provisions.

Some 18 percent of the children are undernourished. The humanitarian situation is rendered more difficult by the fact that only 75,000 refugees can live in camps. 125,000 must hold out under cover in Bangladesh in constant fear of attacks by xenophobic citizens’ committees in order to escape being deported to the persecuting state of Burma. “The authorities in Bangladesh are evidently not prepared to grant asylum to these persecuted people”, said Delius. Civil rights are systematically refused to the Moslem minority of the Rohingya.

They are often given no birth-certificates, they are not allowed to marry and they are not allowed to undertake any paid work Their freedom of movement is also arbitrarily restricted and their land confiscated. On 5th March 2010 a Rohingya was sentenced in Burma to six months imprisonment because he had tried to contact the UN Commissar for Burma, Tomas Ojca Quintana, who had on 17th February 2010 visited Arakan, the home region of the Rohingya.

At present the Burmese border guard is with the use of Rohingya forced labour building a border fence to its neighbour, Bangladesh, which is more than 200 km long, the purpose being to cut off all possibility for the Moslems to escape.

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