To date, there have been no cases of COVID-19 amongst the close to a million Rohingya refugees currently sheltering at camps in southern Bangladesh. However, in the Cox’s Bazar region — where the largest camp, Kutupalong, is situated — there have been confirmed virus cases.
Right now, the refugees are in lockdown. The majority of the mainly Muslim population fled to Bangladesh following the August 2017 military crackdown in their homeland — Myanmar’s Rakhine state. The Rohingyas were fleeing widespread slaughter, the burning of villages and mass rape.
The UNHCR (the United Nations refugee agency) has warned that, with a population density in these camps greater than New York City, the Rohingya refugees “are considered to be among the most at risk globally in this pandemic”.
And on top of all this, the monsoon is about to wreak its annual havoc.
I met Ro Yassin Abdumonab on the side of the road at Kutupalong last November. Besides acting as a guide for journalists, the freelance translator and photographer is also a local resident, having fled the genocide being perpetrated in his hometown of Maungdaw.
“I was forced to leave my motherland because I am a Rohingya Muslim. I am an Indigenous citizen of my country, but today I am denied my right to live peacefully,” he explains. “Now, I am surviving at the world’s largest refugee camp. And still struggling to get back my rights.”
Sep 27, 2020Bangladesh is hosting more than one million Rohingya, a mainly Muslim minority community who are stateless, most of whom fled following a wave of violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in 2017. “More than three years have elapsed. Regrettably, not a single Rohingya could be repatriated. The problem was created by Myanmar, and its solution must […]
Sep 26, 2020