Bangladesh to build world’s largest refugee camps for 800,000 Rohingya
Bangladesh on Thursday announced it would build one of the world’s biggest refugee camps to house all the 800,000-plus Rohingya Muslims who have sought asylum from violence in Myanmar.
The arrival of more than half a million Rohingya Muslims from Buddhist-dominated Myanmar since 25 August has put an immense strain on camps in Bangladesh where there are growing fears of a disease epidemic.
A Bangladesh minister gave details of the mega camp as Myanmar’s army blamed Rohingya militants for setting fire to houses in troubled Rakhine state in recent days to intensify the exodus of the Muslim minority across the border.
All of those that reside in scattered puts can be introduced into one position. That’s why extra land is wanted.
Seven-hundred-and-ninety hectares of land (2,000 acres) next to the existing Kutupalong camp were set aside last month for the new Rohingya arrivals. But as the number of newcomers has exceeded 500,000 – adding to 300,000 already in Bangladesh – another 400 hectares (1,000 acres) has been set aside for the new camp.
Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, minister for disaster management and relief, said all the Rohingya would eventually be moved from 23 camps along the border and other makeshift camps around Cox’s Bazar to the new zone.
The United Nations has praised Bangladesh’s “extraordinary spirit of generosity” in opening up its borders.
Rohingya issue in brief
Who are Rohingya?
Rohingya are an ethnic group, largely comprising Muslims, who predominantly live in the Western Myanmar province of Rakhine. They speak a dialect of Bengali, as opposed to the commonly spoken Burmese language.
Though they have been living in the South East Asian country for generations, Myanmar considers them as persons who migrated to their land during the Colonial rule. So, it has not granted Rohingyas full citizenship.
What happened in 2012?
Myanmar state, which was ruled by the military junta until 2011, has been accused of ethnic cleansing in Rakhine by the United Nations.
It deported thousands of Rohingya to Bangladesh in the seventies and the citizenship law was also enacted by the junta. Things changed little for the Rohingya even after the political reforms in 2011 that eventually led to the first general elections in 2015, as the democratically-elected government-headed by President Htin Kyaw has been unwilling to grant citizenship.
Sectarian violence between Rohingyas and Rakhine’s Buddhist natives began flaring up in June 2012, following the rape and murder of a Rakhine woman in a Rohingya-dominated locality.
What happened on August 25 this year?
Muslim militants in Myanmar staged a coordinated attack on 30 police posts and an army base in Rakhine state on August 25. The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), a group previously known as Harakah al-Yaqin, which instigated the October attacks, claimed responsibility for the attacks. In the counter attacks launched by Army at least 59 of the insurgents and 12 security personnel were killed.