Bangladesh bans two aid agencies from Rohingya refugee camps

By AFP

COX’S BAZAR — Bangladesh on Thursday said it has banned two aid agencies from Rohingya camps in the country’s southeast, alleging they were telling refugees to reject repatriation to their homeland in Myanmar.

The move came amid growing impatience from Dhaka about the presence of the refugees in the country, two years after some 740,000 were driven over the border by a military crackdown on the Muslim minority.

The latest repatriation attempt by Bangladesh and Myanmar two weeks ago, the second in less than a year, failed with not a single refugee volunteering to cross the border back home.

US-based Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and local organisation Al Markazul Islami were accused by the government’s NGO Affairs Bureau of “instigating” the stateless minority against the recent repatriation attempt.

Support more independent journalism like this. Sign up to be a Frontier member.

Mr Kamal Hossain, the government administrator of Cox’s Bazar district where the refugee camps are located, said Dhaka had issued a notice for the NGOs to immediately stop their activities across the country.

“The administration is taking action accordingly to the issued order,” he told AFP, adding that the NGO Affairs Bureau also ordered bank transactions by the two agencies to be halted.

More than 130 aid agencies work in the three dozen squalid camps in Cox’s Bazar, where the 740,000 Rohingya fled to, joining some 200,000 others already living here.

Foreign Minister Mr A.K. Abdul Momen last week said Dhaka would crack down on aid agencies if they “do something going beyond their terms and references”.

The Rohingya have refused to go home until Myanmar gives them guarantees of safety and citizenship status.

Tensions have ratcheted up in the camps in recent weeks as refugees marked the two-year anniversary of the 2017 exodus.

Four refugees have also been killed in the fallout over the murder of local ruling party official Mr Omar Faruk, which police blame on Rohingya hitmen.

Bangladeshi authorities on Monday also ordered operators to shut down mobile phone services in the camps amid the outbreak of violence.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
Myanmar enters 2021 with more friends than foes
The early delivery of vaccines is one of the many boons of the country’s geopolitics, but to really take advantage, Myanmar must bury the legacy of its isolationist past.
Will the Kayin BGF go quietly?
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.

Stay on top of Myanmar current affairs with our Daily Briefing and Media Monitor newsletters

Our fortnightly magazine is available in print, digital, or a combination beginning at $80 a year

Sign up for our Frontier Fridays newsletter. It’s a free weekly round-up featuring the most important events shaping Myanmar