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The fate of the Rohingya people in refugee camps in Bangladesh

Six years after the Myanmar army’s genocidal campaign against the Rohingya people,  large-scale violence has emerged in the camps of this Muslim minority of around one million people in south-eastern Bangladesh. Rohingya militants have turned against each other, and terror, kidnappings and armed robberies have increased. According to the refugees, the killings of community leaders and people believed to be informants of the Bangla government are the worst. Local and international agencies are failing to stop the violence, and the Rohingyas, one of the world’s most persecuted ethnic groups, have once again been left to fend for themselves.

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) has decided to reduce food support for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh because of the financial crisis. Monthly food vouchers have been cut from $12 to $10 per person, and further cuts are “imminent” without an immediate cash injection. Médecins Sans Frontières has warned that this will put hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas at serious risk of malnutrition.

Bangladeshi authorities are investigating the cause of a fire at the Cox’s Bazar camp for Rohingya refugees, during which 12,000 people lost their shelter. Hospitals, 21 education centres and 35 mosques, among other buildings, were also burnt down. Cox’s Bazar is considered the world’s largest refugee camp, with around one million Rohingyas living there. Rising crime, difficult living conditions and bleak prospects of returning to Myanmar are forcing more and more people to flee by boat to Malaysia and Indonesia. According to UN figures, 348 Rohingyas died at sea last year.

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