Visit to the Rohingya Refugee Camps In Bangladesh:

PUIC Delegation Witnesses Evidence of Horrifying Humanitarian Tragedy

PUIC Delegation Witnesses Evidence of Horrifying Humanitarian Tragedy

According to the mandate of the 13th PUIC Conference, a delegation of the PUIC Executive Committee visited the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh on 10-13 September 2018. The delegation included representatives of PUIC Member Parliaments of the following countries: People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria; People’s Republic of Bangladesh; Islamic Republic of Iran; Malaysia; Kingdom of Morocco; Republic of the Sudan; Republic of Turkey and a delegation of the PUIC Secretariat.

During the first day of the visit, the delegation met, at the Parliament Building, H.E. Mrs. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Speaker of the Parliament of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Having listened to her briefing on the suffering of the Muslim Rohingya, the PUIC Secretary General delivered a brief speech in which he thanked the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and its people for receiving such numbers of the Rohingya refugees. He expressed his solidarity with Bangladesh to face the pressure which is on these refugees.

On the other hand, all the members of the PUIC delegation thanked the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, government, people and parliament for the warm welcoming, and promised to urge their respective parliaments and governments to apply pressure on Myanmar to immediately allow the return of the Rohingya refugees to their homeland in the Rakhine State.

The PUIC delegation also met with H.E. Mr. Md. Shahriar Alam, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, and listened to the valuable explanations about the tragedy of the Muslim Rohingya people as well as briefing on the efforts exerted by the Government of Bangladesh to help these refugees.

His Excellency underscored the problems caused by the huge influx of refugees to Bangladesh. He gave proposals to be communicated to the PUIC Member Parliaments in order to exhort the Muslim nation to stand by the side of Bangladesh and the Rohingya in this terrible tragedy and to move the entire world for the sake of justice and dignity.

On 12th September, 2018, the PUIC delegation, accompanied by a number of Bangladeshi members of Parliament, went to visit the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox Bazar region where they closely took stock of the suffering of the Muslim Rohingya People.

During the visit the delegation had the opportunity to meet with the Rohingya refugees and discuss details of their plight. Their Frightening stories included human rights violations. Eyewitnesses gave details of horrifying events of August 2017 in which hundreds of Rohingya villages were burnt and thousands of innocent civilians were brutalized by the Myanmar army which used helicopter gunships and rockets. The worst forms of violence took place against the Rohingya Muslims, including murder, torture and the rape of women and children. The PUIC delegation took note of information directly from the victims who suffered those violations and who fled to Cox Bazar. Several Rohingya women, including young girls, told that they were gang-raped by soldiers. Some told frightening stories about witnessing the killing of members of their families and the hanging of heads of their sons from trees, as well as throwing children and old people into burning houses and shooting their husbands.

It may mentioned that the refugee camps have been established in an area stretching along the border with Myanmar in a valley which previously had a lot of wildlife and a great number of trees and lakes. However due to the heavy influx of refugees in a short period of time, the ecology of the area has faced extensive damage, as most bamboo trees have been cut down to build makeshift huts for the refugees, and for use as firewood. One of the key fears expressed by Bangladeshi officials is that the situation may worsen during the monsoon season, which will cause landslides and heavy flooding, unless more engineering works were carried out. Additional resources are, therefore, critically needed as Bangladesh, despite, its best efforts, would not be able to cope with the massive humanitarian challenge during the upcoming rainy season.

Bottom-line: while the situation of refugees and their stories were heart wrenching, it was pleasing to note that the government of Bangladesh is doing its best to ease the life of the Rohingya refugees and help them to bear their tragedy and facilitate delivery of humanitarian relief to them.

We ought to hail the generosity of the host community of Cox Bazar who have provided shelter for their brother Rohingya and gave time to teach their children the language and the Quran, as well as assist the Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar in fear for their lives and dignity.

However, the PUIC delegation, observed, with sorrow, the terrible psychological condition of the refugees due to the horrifying violations which they have witnessed, as well as the refusal of most of them to return to their homes, unless guarantees for their safety are provided and their basic human rights are realized.

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