More From Alder's Ledge

March 4, 2013

Blockades In Bangladesh

Racism Knows No Borders
(part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Always On The Outside Looking In)

For nearly a year now the Arakan has been under siege by Rakhine extremist who are determined to fulfill their campaign of ethnic cleansing. These fascist have created as system of oppression not seen by the West since the Bosnian Genocide. And much like the Serbian aggression, the Rakhine extremist began their siege of the Rohingya with a horrific purge. 

Many of Burma's Rohingya fled the initial wave of genocide in their homeland for the promise of security across the border in Bangladesh. These Rohingya had been led to believe that at the very least they would be spared the killing and barbarism that was spreading across the Arakan. The one thing they would never escape however was the racism that plagues the region in which they live. 

No border would stop the hatred the Bengali and Burmese communities hold for the Rohingya. It is a deep seeded hatred that can't be easily explained. And yet, in the same irony of the cheap excuses given for the Bosnian Genocide, it isn't a hatred that can be used to explain the violence. This was a hatred that has left the Rohingya as a people vulnerable, oppressed, and constantly on the run. 

In Bangladesh the local authorities fought against the establishment of any form of refugee camps. Recognized camps were just as dangerous as the purges across the border in Burma. So with the constant threat of violence, the Rohingya gathered in unregistered (and considered illegal) camps away from prying eyes. 

(Dreary And Miserable Camps)

Hostility against the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh has been only getting worse. The Border Guards Bangladesh and the Repaid Action Battalion have been increasing their presence around the Rohingya camps. Along with their presence comes the threat of rape, robbery, extortion, and slavery. Let alone the violence associated with the security personnel.

This increase in military and security has also led to Rohingya being unable to seek jobs and income in the the surrounding area. The fact that these camps are unregistered with the UNHCR also means that they are unable to receive aid from the UN. And with the security the roads have been blocked and checkpoints erected, meaning that NGOs are unable to reach the camps. 

In Bangladesh there are four refugee camps. Two of which are not registered with the UNHCR. This leaves these two camps vulnerable and at the whims of the Bengali military.

In Kutupalong makeshift camp there are about 60,000 people and  15,000 in Lada makeshift camp. All of these Rohingya are on the verge of starvation. Without the ability to leave these camps and seek employment and food, these Rohingya will have to face a slow and painful death.

For many they will have to decide if they should stay in Bangladesh or risk death on the sea fleeing ethnic cleansing once again.

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