Gangs, kidnappings, murders drive Rohingya from camps – Asia Times

Gangs, kidnappings, murders drive Rohingya from camps - Asia Times

A boat carrying Rohingya immigrants fleeing a quagmire station in Bangladesh capsized off Indonesia next year. Around 75 people were rescued, including nine children, but more than 70 are missing and presumed dying.

This was n’t an isolated incident. In recent months, the number of Rohingya people trying to flee migrant camps by ship has increased exponentially.

1, 783 Rohingya refugees reportedly boarded canoes from Bangladesh between January 1, 2023, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Around 3,100 people have since then made these dangerous expeditions, an increase of nearly 74 %.

Since January 2023, around 490 Rohingya have been reported dead or missing, including 280 since October 1.

Some Rohingya are stranded at sea and vulnerable to exploitation, prostitution, and even death because of their refusals and pushbacks when they attempt to reach countries like Malaysia and most just Indonesia.

Why have Rohingya been attempting to flee recently? And how should the global community handle this humanitarian issue that is getting worse every day?

We describe the “push factors” that have been identified in community-based study in the camps in a new article that has just been submitted for gaze review. Some people are being forced to table boats to get to safety by two American academics and six unidentified Rohingya activists.

Living with continual anxiety

Surviving a large Burmese military operation in 2017 that aimed to drive the almost 1 million Rohingya migrants from their homes in northern Rakhine state, Bangladesh is home to.

Between 7 800 and 24 000 persons were estimated as the number of people killed during the procedure. The United Nations has called it a “textbook case of cultural cleaning” and murder.

Yet before they were forced across the border, the Rohingya people had been subjected to decades of prejudice, neglect of citizenship, isolation from colleges and labor, restrictions on freedom of action and violence from government.

Now, trapped in limbo in the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, they are experiencing many of the same things.

In 2019, we conducted on- the- ground interviews with 27 Rohingya community experts living in Cox’s Bazaar, including teachers, mothers, religious leaders, spiritual healers, youths and activists. We were interested in learning how the Rohingya people perceived and felt the effects of genocide and displacement.

This understanding is important because most mental health services are based on Western terminology like “depression”, “anxiety” or” stress”. However, these might not accurately reflect the Rohingya experience. Instead, we found that the English word “tension” ( in Rohingya, sinta ) was used by many refugees, conveys feelings of worry, concern and anxiety and captures the experience of being stateless.

As two unidentified adolescent Rohingya women described it to us:

There is no opportunity to do anything. All we do is stay inside.

Tension is loss. We’ve lost land, children, husband, that’s why we feel tension.

Tension is neck pain. Tension is throat, shoulders and head pain.

After conducting our interviews, we then developed a pictorial model of “tension”, as Rohingya is an oral language. The model ( below ) showed how being “opportunity- less” – from lack of work, education or freedom of movement – sits at the centre of tension.

Our interview interview respondents said that lack of opportunity causes excessive thinking, physical pain, and family conflict, both within families, and with the Bangladeshi community.

Author provided

Why has the situation grown even worse?

The six Rohingya activists who assisted us in carrying out this study have since explained how these sources of tension have gotten worse since 2019.

Like so many in their communities, they have personally experienced arbitrary arrest, fabricated legal cases and imprisonment by the Bangladeshi authorities.

After dark, the “night government” armed groups roam the camps, kidnapping and demanding ransoms from families, threatening people in their homes, trafficking drugs and killing anyone who tries to speak up. Women and girls are targeted for assault and trafficking.

The camps are also fenced off, like open- air prisons. This implies that refugees are confined when fires start to burn, which occurs frequently. In January, a huge fire spread quickly in the congested encampments, destroying some 800 shelters and leaving 7, 000 people homeless.

Some Rohingya in Bangladesh have even been killed by stray mortar shells in Bangladesh, and the civil war is raging inside of Myanmar across the border.

Without assistance, Bangladesh, one of the world’s most densely populated and least developed nations, cannot address these push factors in the camps. International aid for the Rohingya, meanwhile, continues to decline rapidly.

What should regional partners do?

What steps can and should the international community take to arrive at a long-term solution to this issue?

Australia can play a much bigger humanitarian role as a well-equipped regional partner, not just punishing people smugglers or refugees themselves through boat turnbacks.

When people are faced with such dire conditions, they will move, no matter the cost. Boat turnbacks and arrests fail to address the root causes of forced migration, as recent refugee boat arrivals in Australia and Indonesia demonstrate. They do not” stop the boats”.

What Australia, New Zealand, and their regional partners should do in place of helping the Rohingya people, as suggested by our experts:

  • Put diplomatic pressure on the Myanmar junta to allow for the refugees ‘ return home and to grant them recognition of their citizenship.
  • Address the lack of funding for humanitarian organizations in Bangladesh that provide for Rohingya refugees ‘ immediate needs, including food, shelter, medical care, proper education, and psycho-social support. Invest in the resilience of refugees.
  • Increase the pressure on Bangladesh to make sure the refugee camps are better and to offer Rohingya refugees a source of income. This includes advocating for laws that permit refugees to work legally and help the local economy.
  • Give Rohingya refugees who have fled to other countries, especially those who have been displaced since the 1990s, priority resettlement opportunities. Resettlement provides a long-lasting solution to those who require international protection and the chance to rebuild their lives in dignity and safety.

Max William Loomes is a senior researcher at UNSW Sydney, and Ruth Wells is a senior research fellow in psychiatry and mental health.

The Conversation has republished this article under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.