The violence and abuse against the Rohingya population in Myanmar led to 750.000 refugees entering Bangladesh in less than three months at the end of 2017. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) referred to the attacks as “textbook ethnic cleansing”.
Today, the district of Cox’s Bazar, only a few kilometres from the Myanmar border, houses one of the world’s largest refugee camps, with close to 900,000 refugees living in temporary shelters.
The concentration of people in these camps is amongst the densest in the world and the conditions are poor. People lack proper shelters, toilet facilities, clean water and food.
The national authorities in Bangladesh and Myanmar have established a repatriation agreement, but few Rohingya are willing to return to Myanmar as long as the Myanmar government does not guarantee them citizenship and protection from further violence.
“The continued uncertainty of the Rohingya’s status and right to return to their homeland, coupled with a lack of education, learning and working opportunities in the camps, put them in an extremely vulnerable position. Although the Bangladeshi government have been very generous in accommodating the refugees, we need to find a long-terms solution for the Rohingya as well as the Bangladeshi host communities”, says Benedicte Giæver, Executive Director of NORCAP.