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21 August, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Rohingya crisis

No solutions in sight

Says Medicines Sans Frontieres
UNB, Dhaka

Medicines Sans Frontieres (MSF) yesterday said very little progress has been made to address the lack of legal status for the Rohingya in the region, or to address the underlying causes of the Rohingyas' exclusion in Myanmar. A marginalised ethnic minority from Rakhine state, the Rohingya people have in recent decades been subject to mounting targeted state exclusion and persecution, it said adding that two years ago, news of Myanmar's campaign of violence against the Rohingya dominated the headlines. MSF Emergency Coordinator in Cox's Bazar Arunn Jegan said he first came to Cox's Bazar in June 2017, at a time when thousands of Rohingya were already in Bangladesh from previous waves of targeted violence. Even then, he said,

the needs were massive. “I returned as project coordinator that August, as hundreds of thousands more people arrived. It was obvious the Rohingyas were fleeing violence - in one two-week period between August and September 2017, we watched pillars of smoke, most likely from houses and villages being burned, at several points across the border.” At the border crossings, he said, they saw Rohingyas arriving with burns, gunshots, lacerations, and smoke asphyxiation. “The trauma was visible on people’s faces and bodies.”

To date, no meaningful solutions have been offered to the Rohingyas, who have been pushed to the margins of society in virtually all the countries they have fled to. In Bangladesh, over 912,000 Rohingyas still live in the same basic bamboo structures as when they first arrived, face travel and work restrictions, and remain wholly reliant on humanitarian aid, MSF said.

With children unable to attend formal schooling, future generations are deprived of an opportunity to improve their situation.

Many of the illnesses MSF treats at its clinics in Cox’s Bazar are a result of the poor living conditions that the Rohingya endure, with poor access to clean latrines or water.

MSF continues to treat tens of thousands of patients a month, performing over 1.3 million consultations between August 2017 and June 2019.

“Two years on, there’re now better roads, more latrines and clean water points in and around the camps. There’s more sense of order. But conditions in the camps remain precarious and big questions about people’s futures are still unanswered,” says Jegan.

The situation facing the Rohingyas still in Myanmar is similarly bleak. In 1982, a citizenship law rendered them effectively stateless, and in recent years they have been stripped of even more of their rights, ranging from civic inclusion, the right to education, marriage, family planning, to freedom of movement and access to healthcare.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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