An estimated 730,000 Rohingyas had crossed into Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh three years ago in order to flee persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. Although the Rohingyas, who are currently residing in Bangladeshi camps as refugees, wish to return to their homes in Rakhine State, very little has been done to create a safe environment for their return.
The challenges facing the Rohingya people, described by the United Nations as “the most persecuted minority in the world,” have unfortunately continued following their arrival in Bangladesh.
How it all began
Before their mass exodus to Bangladesh in 2017, the Rohingya people were the largest Muslim group in Myanmar. The majority of them used to reside in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. According to various estimates, they numbered around one million.
Myanmar’s government have regarded the Rohingyas as a “stateless” people within Myanmar. They have, therefore, been denied citizenship.
Even before the 2017 mass exodus, the Rohingya people had been forced to leave Myanmar in a number of ethnic cleansing efforts by the Myanmar army and extremist Buddhist groups.
However, Myanmar’s military and Buddhist extremist groups’ efforts to drive the Rohingyas out of Myanmar reached the height in the latter half of 2017. In August of the same year, the military and militias attacked Rohingya villages in Rakhine State. They burnt homes. They brutally tortured and killed many Rohingya civilians.
Compelled by the circumstances, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya started to flee their villages. They began their journey to Bangladesh, believing that a foreign land would be safer than Myanmar.
At present, more than a million Rohingya refugees are living in camps situated in Bangladesh, with an estimated average population of 100,000 people per square mile.
Among the refugees living in the camps, almost 50 percent are children and there are more women than men. They have been living in makeshift shelters made of bamboo and plastic sheets. Understandably, any structures made of such materials are likely to be intolerably hot in the summer, exposed to winds and rains during the monsoon season, and extremely cold in the winter.
The Rohingyas are bound to work secretly outside the camps,