Basic shelters under construction in a Rohingya refugee camp in Shamlapur, Bangladesh. (Photo: Andrew Day)
Basic shelters under construction in a Rohingya refugee camp in Shamlapur, Bangladesh. (Photo: Andrew Day)

Naypyitaw, 28 Jumadil Awwal 1436/19 March 2015 (MINA) – Thousands of Burma’s persecuted Rohingya Muslims have poured into neighbouring Bangladesh to scrape a living in makeshift camps.

Yet once over the border, many face new hardships. Bangladeshi authorities tore down a refugee camp a month ago without warning. Our Observers describe the daily suffering of a stateless people, France24 quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

The United Nations has called the Rohingyas one of the world’s most persecuted minorities. Since 1978, hundreds of thousands have fled the Burmese state of Arakan – now renamed Rakhine – where they suffer violent persecution at the hands of the state’s Buddhist majority.

In accordance with a controversial government law, Burma doesn’t grant the Rohingya people citizenship. Many live in refugee camps that forbid humanitarian aid.

Others have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, a country which initially welcomed them in the name of Islamic solidarity but has since toughened its policies.

The camp torn down by Bangladeshi authorities was located near Shamlapur, a fishing village in the district of Cox’s Bazar. The area is famous for the long, pristine beaches that line the Bay of Bengal, making it one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.

Officials say the camp had to be demolished in order to “clear the area bordering the seafront”.

Around 2,500 dwellings were uprooted, forcing thousands of Rohingyas [Editor’s note: 7,000 according to official figures, 35,000 according to a Bangladeshi newspaper] to find new shelter.

Some headed towards other so-called unofficial camps dotted around Cox’s Bazar. The area is also home to Bangladesh’s two official camps, both of which are overcrowded. According to our Observers, some found shelter in a spot close to the site of the original camp.(T/P004/P3)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)